Without the support of Catholic school religion classes or parish religious education programs, many parents are concerned about how to “teach religion” during the mandated period of social distancing. In fact, for many parents, the idea of holding at-home religion classes makes them feel inadequate, since few Catholics have formal training in theology.
There’s good news about teaching the Good News! You don’t need a degree in theology. You need only to remember that your family represents a domestic Church, and your role is to lead your flock toward a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. We know that times of crisis often serve as a catalyst to growing in faith. Catholic educators recommend responding to the COVID-19 public health crisis by demonstrating to children the vital role your faith plays in your daily life. You’ll be teaching by example, and your lessons may make a lasting impression that could inspire your children for years to come.
While you’re at home with your kids, try these ideas to practice and demonstrate the faith:
• Connect with your parish online for Mass. If your parish isn’t streaming Sunday Mass, visit watchthemass.com for live and taped Masses. As you would on Sunday, gather the family together, sit respectfully as you watch the liturgy, pray along (but no need to stand or kneel), and say a prayer of spiritual Communion in lieu of receiving the Eucharist.
• Pray together as a family. Take turns reading the daily Scripture aloud and have an informal Bible study over breakfast, discussing what the readings reveal to you that day.
• During family prayer, include your own version of the prayers of the faithful with prayer intentions from each family member. In particular, pray for:
• The Church, Pope Francis, all the clergy, and especially for our pastor and parish staff
• Those who are leading nations, states and communities through the COVID-19 crisis
• Health care workers
• Those who are sick and suffering, and their families, and those with other health issues whose treatments are being affected by the crisis
• Those who are dying and who will die alone, and for their families
• Pray a family rosary and have each member lead a decade, and everyone shares intentions.
• Have a crucifix in a prominent place in the home, and in every bedroom. If your children don’t have them, make them as a craft project during school-at-home.
• Talk freely about the presence of God during these uncertain days. When reading the news, look for uplifting stories of neighbors helping neighbors, heroic health care workers, and others who demonstrate sacrificial love.
• Allow your children to witness you in private prayer. Encourage your children to pray daily on their own, to listen for God’s call, and, if heard, to respond. Order a prayer journal online for each family member.
• For more ideas on how to build your home as a Domestic Church, visit www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/programs/family-fully-alive/10162-family-fully-alive-booklet.pdf sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
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