From the Desk of Fr. Underwood:
Family Faith Formation: On Tuesday June 25th, we had a presentation to share with you the approach for Family Faith Formation that will begin here this year. I want to take this opportunity to answer some of the questions/concerns that have been raised as this approach is developed and rolled out.
- What is Family Faith Formation? Family Faith Formation recognizes the need for every Catholic to have a strong personal relationship with Christ, in order to become disciples. It acknowledges that becoming disciples is not merely an individual task, but happens in community. And, as we know, God has given us families as the perfect place to grow, mature, be loved, pray, serve others, and play. Families are the natural place where we encounter Jesus first – and the place where we grow to love Him with all our hearts. Family Faith Formation supports this truth by empowering parents with the tools necessary to guide and form their children in the faith.
- Who is a part of Family Faith Formation? Everyone. St. Lawrence is a parish family, and our goal is that everyone has a place in life-long formation. Formation is not simply classroom education that we graduate from at a particular point in our lives. Formation is a journey of growing into a deep relationship with God. There is a place for everyone to grow in their faith through our Family Faith Formation – families with children at home, empty nesters, single individuals, senior citizens, young people, those just starting their family and seeking baptism, etc. When we acknowledge this comprehensive life-long approach, we realize the part each of us plays in the bigger picture, by sharing our faith with others and growing in our relationship with God as a parish family. You might say, we are working to become a family of families.
- When will this take place? Family Faith Formation will take place at various times through the week, month, and year. It will involve study, prayer, social, and service. It is about the whole life of individuals/families/parish family. The focal-point of this process is the once-monthly gathering of families on a Sunday afternoon from 12:30-2:30pm. It starts with a meal, then a presentation with the whole group, and concludes with age-appropriate catechesis. Families will then have something to take home and share over the next month. Parents will have the tools necessary to share the faith with their children.
Why are we taking this approach, rather than the CCD model? We live in a rapidly-changing culture, where family life doesn’t look like it once did. Families are spread out across the nation. Families are impacted by divorce. Families are blended with different faith backgrounds. Families grapple with challenges of raising children with special needs. Families spend a lot of time on sports fields and less time at church. Children are mentally exhausted after a long day in the classroom – and another classroom-only experience is not as effective as in the past. Parents (at least those who are my age) may not have had the best catechesis growing up, and therefore might feel inadequate to teach the faith they don’t fully understand. And, the church has taught for years that parents are the primary educators of their children in the faith. We owe it to our families to help face all of these cultural challenges in order that everyone has a deep loving relationship with God. This approach set out to shirf all of our thinking form classroom to the journey of life.