Recently, our Cardinal informed us that he would like to hear from the parishioners and a survey was sent out. I was excited to share some of my thoughts and spent the next day thinking about what I’d like to convey. I really don’t have an axe to grind on the subject of Catholicism; I love the faith and the beauty of the religion. Still, after some contemplation, I settled on one item I’d like to raise.
I opened the survey with anticipation, but was immediately disappointed. The Cardinal wanted to know, in 1 single sentence, how the Church could listen to us better. There were 3 questions, each requesting 1 single sentence on how the parish could listen better, how the Archdiocese could listen better and lastly, how the greater Catholic Church could listen to the world.
1 single sentence…
I get it, there’s a lot of people in the Archdiocese and reading everything will take time, still, I was disappointed. The 2nd question bothered me the most – I have no idea what the Archdiocese is currently doing to listen to the parishioners, so how could I suggest how they could do better, in one single sentence?
I guess I should appreciate that they are reaching out, even if it wasn’t as I had expected or hoped. My answers we’re quickly, that the priests should look to build relationships within the community, that the Archdiocese should have an active mechanism to gather feedback from learned individuals who know the faith and finally, that the Church, as a whole, shouldn’t listen to the world.
I had actually wanted to provide feedback on CCD. At one point, I am certain, that CCD was taught by a bunch of well educated and faithful Moms. Kids would go to Church on Sunday and then, during the week, receive an hour of instruction from a Mother who was willing to share her time and experience. Today though, sadly, few Moms know the faith.
Every year, my children learn the same things, always the Sacraments and then, predictably, during Christmas, they learn about the 3 Wise Man and the Baby in the manger. The story of the Baby in the manger is a shocking story if told right; the All mighty and powerful King of Kings is born dirt poor to a bunch of nobody shepherds?!?!?
I am always surprised when I drop my kids off for CCD, that there are a ton of kids that I never see on Sunday and didn’t know their families were Catholic. A pew research poll showed that only 31% of Catholics believe that the Bread and Wine is actually the Body and Blood of Christ; the majority believe its just a symbol. (“If it’s only a symbol, to hell with it.” -Flannery O’Connor). This is who is teaching CCD, in many instances.
CCD is meant to augment what our parents are teaching us at home and what they learn in Church. Reality is, parents today don’t know much about the Bible and most aren’t teaching their children. CCD’s new role, in my opinion, is to tell the children about the Good Sheppard, the loving Giver of Life.
Children in CCD don’t know the Great Story of the Old Testament that calls out for Jesus. Kids don’t know who St Paul is, they can’t name the writers of the four Gospels, they don’t know who David is or Moses and they don’t know the stories in the Bible. CCD will try and teach my kids that Jesus loves them, but if they don’t know Jesus, telling them they’re loved just isn’t enough.
CCD should spend more time as Bible study. Teach the children not just that Mary loves us, but rather, why Mary is important. Teach the kids about the Saints and how their lives can point to Christ and how in times of needs, they can intercede.
Kids need to know Jesus and build a relationship with Him so that they can go through life knowing who loves them. Kids, parents and everyone need to know, that Death doesn’t have the final say, that on the other side of life’s door, there’s Jesus, waiting with open arms.