Family life is a complex network of relationships and stresses. The Christian family is a core element of the Christian community. We learn how to be a Christian by seeing Christian behaviour in action rather than learning from facts. How we learn to be community is influenced by the relationships we experience as family.
The Responsibilities of Parents
After the birth of your child you brought him/her to the Church to be baptised.
During the celebration, before the actual Baptism the celebrant will say: ” You have asked to have your child baptised. In doing so you are accepting responsibility of training him/her in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring him/her up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbour. Do you clearly understand what you are doing?”
You respond: I/We do
Baptism is not a private affair. We are baptised into a community of Faith.
Due to the promise you are going to make at your child’s baptism, when your child is 7 – 8 years old and ready to take another step in his/her journey of Faith there are further responsibilities. Your child will be able to prepare for Reconciliation, Confirmation and Eucharist. You will need to encourage and support them through this process.
You are the most important teachers of the faith. Your child learns most from you in matters of Faith; “Faith is caught not taught.” If you’ve drifted away from the celebration of the sacraments this might be a good time to review your decision.
The school Religious Education programme supports you in the important task of preparation, as does the parish, but it is you as parents who has the greatest ability to teach your child.
Five Ways to Build Family
These are some practical ways of growing your children in faith.
- Taking my child to Mass – especially Sunday Mass.
- Teaching my child right from wrong.
- Teaching my child to share.
- Listening to my child.
- Telling my child stories about Jesus and other Bible stories.
- Helping my child to say, “I’m sorry”.
- Saying night prayers with my child.
- Saying grace before meals with my family.
- Encouraging my child to make up their own prayers as well as teaching them the traditional ones.
- Showing my child how to be a good friend.
In this short video, Pope Francis reminds us that the greatest gift we can offer our children is faith.