Parents, please know that I continue to keep you and your families in my prayers and this if there is anything you need from me or the parish I am here for you.
Also I want to encourage your questions (or your children’s) about the faith. If there is a topic or idea that needs further contemplation and study let me know, I would love to help in that capacity.
For this week let’s talk to our children about community. This is probably something that many of them have been missing this past year. They have missed their friends at school, their sports friends, neighborhood friends, and hopefully their church friends. God made us all social beings. We need the friendship, support, and thoughts of others to thrive and live well. I think that it is important that we teach our children about community. Most importantly how to build it is so necessary today when we look around and see conflict between people, nations, races, and religions. Plus, if you remember a few weeks ago we told them reasons why Catholicism is good for their health and community was one of the reasons. Here is that article for your reference: Why Catholicism is good for your health!
First, I would encourage you to talk to your children about what they miss about going to church and coming to faith formation. Support their experiences of not seeing their friends and make that a segue to the importance of all types of community.
Next, have your child give you a definition of community. Of course you can follow up with them by giving your own or something along the lines of “a group of people who are united because they share common values.”
Then take some time to give some examples of community in particular the different communities they are involved in or they might be familiar with. Along the way ask them (by using the definition above) to say who the group is and what are the common values they share.
After they can define and give examples of a community, give them this piece of information: God is a community! God is a Trinity, a community of three divine Persons bonded together by love. Furthermore, to help our children see that community within the parish is something that runs deep in our tradition and God’s plan for humanity you can read this to them:
-When God first revealed himself, he called the Israelites not as individuals but as a people, a community. They were God’s chosen people, bonded together by a sacred covenant with him. (More on what a sacred covenant is in the coming weeks)
-To Jesus, community was a priority. He called the Twelve, and they traveled together, sharing food and finances. He sent his disciples out two by two. Jesus taught how to foster community: Be humble, be as simple as a child, forgive without limit, and above all, love one another as you love yourself.
-The first Christians were “of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32). They were such a tight-knit community that they “had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need … they spent much time together in the temple” (Acts 2:44-46). These followers of Jesus were united by love for him and one another.
-The Church is a community so completely bonded that it is known as a body, the body of Christ. Another name for the Church is the communion of saints. It comprises people of faith in heaven, in purgatory, and on earth, or, as someone quipped, all saints, all souls, and all sorts.
So I hope that you and your children can see that this idea of community with the Catholic Church is much larger than they might have ever imagined, but also that they are equally a part of the community of the Church and how we can be responsible members of the Church.
This is a lot of discussion and dialogue between you and your child. Here is an article for you to read that might be helpful in your understanding of what community means in the church and how to approach it with your child: Participating in Parish Community
Here is a short video to share with them about the origins of the Church at Pentecost and how this small community of disciples was at once sacred and without a leader (Jesus), but through the power of the Holy Spirit received the courage, words, and mission to witness the faith and still does to this day! Pentecost story
Lastly, I would encourage you all to write down what your family can do to serve the community once you are able to. Keep the list in a place such as your prayer table or on the refrigerator as a reminder to the necessity of community and ways that you are going to serve.