“Ignorance is the parent of fear” Herman Melville, Moby Dick (quoted in the Independent, 21st March 2007)

 

 

 

Dear fellow Catholic parent,

 

I am a mainstream teacher by training, looking after our two daughters full-time.

 

As a teacher, I saw how hard young people were finding life to be, how unsupported they felt, emotionally, educationally and especially, spiritually.

Both as a teacher and as a parent, I have felt the burning desire to help children to develop their unique, innate and God-given talents and to achieve that relationship with Christ which is the only source of peace and happiness in this life and the next. As a parent and as a catechist, I am also aware of the awesome responsibility we have. God entrusts us with the sacred task of helping children come to him. As Christian parents and catechists in our increasingly secular world we must carry live out our vocation to be the first Heralds of the Faith to children in the context of a society that values self-determination over trust in God, individual short-term desires over communal cooperation for the long term, the purely intellectual over the capacity to empathise, the material for its own sake, over and above the spiritual call to love God and our neighbour.

We cannot do this most important task alone; we need to acknowledge every day our need of God in prayer and of each other in Christian community and fellowship.

 

 

As I talk to other parents, share ideas with them and hear their stories, I am keenly aware that God expects us each to exercise the free will with which he has endowed us. I am also constantly reminded that we all have a mission to change the world, each of us are called to this, to our own, special and unique service in labouring to try to make our fallen world each day resemble more closely the Kingdom of God. We can only fulfil this important mission if we understand our vocation, that is, the thing that God is calling us personally to do. I now realise that all vocations involve a call to evangelise and to catechise. These tasks are not the preserve of some special group set apart but of each one of us within the fulfilment of our own specific practical daily vocations.

 

Over the last few years I have learned a lot from reading and from other parents. I continue to do so every day, from my reading and from my interactions with others, both Christian and non-Christian. Such experiences both our own and those of others can provide a basis for continuing spiritual growth for us all. "All truth, by whomever it is spoken," Thomas Aquinas has written, "comes from the Holy Spirit." As we read about the teaching of the Church and open our hearts in prayer to the absolute truth and love that is God, we free ourselves from the perpetual need to indulge in points scoring that is such a destructive feature of contemporary Western life. We cease to worry whether it is that I am right or you are right and begin to see that what matters is what is right.

 

As I have worked with parents and children over the last twelve years and above all experienced being a parent myself, it has become clear to me that parents need three things to discharge their vital God-given duties effectively;

 

  • we need access to all of the available information on any given topic so that we can become really well informed,
  •  we need a wide range of suggestions as to courses of action we might choose to follow and that others feel they have successfully followed and
  • above all, most crucially, we need the space and genuine no strings attached emotional support to come to our own conclusions as to what, in the exercise of our own free, informed unique consciences is in the best interests of our own unique children.

 

As others have been the catalyst for me to develop a greater awareness of spiritual reality and so to enable me to exercise my conscience in an increasingly informed and genuinely free way, so I hope my experiences and reading will help others to do the same. I wish had 12 years ago understood the power of prayer and of Providence; I wish I had known what a deep source of inspiration the Catechism can be. In is in this spirit that I have set up this Website. Feel free to copy and use any item from it for your own personal use or as a basis for discussion by your own Parish group.

 

There are many resources produced for Catholic families. No two families will come to precisely the same conclusion as which items are suitable and worthwhile. The books and other materials listed on this Website, unless otherwise stated, are things which either I have used myself and can personally recommend or which have been recommended by someone whose judgement I trust.

 

If you have comments, contributions or suggestions, do get in touch; email me on Karen@catholicparenting.org.uk

Bringing up our children in the Faith is too weighty a task to undertake alone. We need God and, we also need each other.

 

Karen Rodgers,

Cambridge

Pentecost 2007

 

Holy Spirit, come to our aid,

Our Lady, best of Mothers, pray for us.

St Joseph, best of Fathers, pray for us

St Philip Howard, Father and Martyr, Pray for us.

Sts Felicity and Perpetua, Mothers and Martyrs, pray for us

St Margaret Clitherow, pray for us

St Gianna Molla, pray for us.