Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
The 2018-2019 Faith Formation program launches tonight with the 11th-Grade Confirmation Retreat and the first classes for grades 1-8. It’s going to be a busy, fun- and faith-filled evenings—but we want it to also be fruitful. What does fruitful formation look like?
The Church and the sacraments exist for one reason: the salvation of souls. We are all created out of love, in the image of God, for holiness and heaven—but we must choose to follow Him. From the scripture verse above, we know that discipleship, or following Jesus, involves work and sacrifice. Beyond that, it will look different for each person and each family. We all have different gifts, different responsibilities, different callings—but we are all called to love God above all, and our neighbor as ourselves.
So now is the time to ask: How are we responding to this call? And how can we respond better?
Practicing the Catholic Faith
The practices below outline the minimum behaviors for a practicing Catholic. If your family is not yet doing these things, make that your goal!
- Attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from any work or activities that could impede the holiness of the day.
- Confess your sins as often as you need to, and every time you have unconfessed mortal sins.
- Receive the Eucharist frequently. You should not receive if you have unconfessed mortal sins or have not fasted from everything but water or medicine for an hour beforehand—but don’t miss out on this great gift of Jesus Himself.
- Observe the Church’s days of fasting and abstinence. Certain days of the year, Catholics are asked to reduce what they eat and avoid eating meats—make a point of doing this as an act of sacrifice and spiritual discipline.
- Use your time, talent and treasure to support the needs of the Church as best we can according to our means.
Remember, these are minimum levels of participation in the life of the Church. Out of love for Christ and a desire to advance in the spiritual life, you should try to do more than they require.
Growing as Disciples
If your family is already faithful to the practices above, take some time to reflect on how you would like to grow deeper in the faith. Do you pray daily? As a couple? As a family? Do you read scripture or learn about Catholic teachings in some other way? Do you give of your time, talent, and treasure to support the mission of the Church? Think about where you are as a family, and where you would like to be. Write down some ideas, no matter how simple, of how to get there. If you need help, just ask—that’s why we’re here!
The family is the best school of faith young people can have, provided we show by our example that our relationship with Jesus and His Church is our priority. We don’t have to be theologians; we just need to be faithful! To encourage parents in the role they promised to undertake at Marriage and Baptism:
- The Faith Formation schedule includes a family event roughly every month. Attend these to grow in communion with the other members of our parish.
- In the coming weeks, you will also get a booklet called “Celebrating Sunday for Catholic Families,” providing a brief reflection on each Sunday’s gospel, plus a question to discuss on the way to Mass and on the way home, and a single paragraph on applying the lesson to your life. Do this short exercise each Sunday with your family.
- Finally, we will be asking for four family Mass reflections this year. We will provide guidelines for these reflections before Advent; our goal is for families to choose one Sunday Mass to think a little more deeply about what God is doing in His Church and in your lives.
Our goal for Faith Formation is to encourage entire families to become better disciples of Jesus. Wherever you are on the path toward Him, we want you to take a step (or several) forward this year. The goals you set for your family will be our measure for your success, and we are committed to helping and encouraging you to achieve them. You have our prayers!