As most of you priests know from your parish work, you have children learning about catechism for an hour a week for maybe two years. Then, they may come back for Confirmation for an hour a week for another two years. But then you probably will never see them again.
There is a story that goes like this: “A priest had a big problem with pigeons at his parish. So he talked the problem over with another priest. This priest said that he had had that same problem in his parish too. The other priest asked him what he had done to get rid of the pigeons. He said; I baptized them, I gave them their first communion, I confirmed them and they never came back again.”
Any honest Catholic priest or bishop, will have to admit that there is a grave problem with our CCD programs and Catholic school systems. Most children that attend, do not practice the Catholic faith.
The problem is their parents. We can work with children. But unless the parents are already good Catholics or willing to become practicing good Catholics, we are wasting the children’s time and ours as well.
Here are the 10 holy secrets.
1) The parents and children start their catechism sessions with the Holy Latin Mass.
2) The parents have to stay for 2 hours of adult Catholic education. Excellent powerpoint classes are given on Catholicism and practical knowledge on how to have holy and happy families.
3) The children learn in 2 hour sessions.
4) There is a strict dress code for the children attending catechism. They have to be dressed in Sunday best and the girls in modest dresses. The parents complain at first about it, but then, when they see how well the children behave and they change their minds. The parish is willing to pay for good clothes, in case any family can not afford to buy them.
5) The teachers know and live their faith.
6) The Holy Rosary is prayed at the beginning of class.
7) The Baltimore Catechism is used and supplemented with other good material.
8) Love and patience are shown to those who are in the classes
9) Children and parents, whom have already become good Catholics, are also in the classes. The way they dress and pray has a great effect on the other people.
10) Each family is interviewed separately and are told exactly what will be expected of them and their children. So there are no surprises when they show up for class.
After a few months you start to see the change in the way the parents begin to come to Holy Mass and catechism. They begin to dress better and to open up their hearts. You begin to see the families becoming happier. They start opening up and sharing how happy they are to be learning about God, Mary, and His loving laws. I attend all the children’s classes and the parents. I can see the beautiful change taking place. We begin to help each other, care about each other and pray for each other.
Many people do not like to come to St. Catherine’s Catechism program because it is too demanding. But those that do, are so so happy and tell us so. Most Catholics want to rush through the classes to get the sacraments. But neither the children or the families are converted. The Catholic Church is full of Catholics, in name only (nominal Catholics).
It is such a joy to work with the parish staff, the teachers and the families. St. Catherine’s is making a difference in many families. May all of us traditional Catholics continue to do this, in spite of the criticism and hard work it takes to do a good job for God and the salvation of souls.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.