5 Easy Ways To Grow in Catholic Faith With Your Kids
Young children are great imitators, especially in matters of faith, but teens will watch you closely to see if you your actions truly match your words. The following are five ways that Catholic parents can grow in faith and at the same time serve as examples to children and teens:
Sunday Mass and Confession
The third commandment tells us to keep the Lord’s Day holy. The way Catholics honour this is to attend Mass on Sunday (or Saturday evening) and receive Communion if we are in a state of grace. If you are not currently going to Mass every week, spend time in prayer and reflection and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the strength to do so. Take your family and make Sunday a special day. Go out for breakfast or lunch or pack a picnic to enjoy afterwards. Or ask each family member to take turns choosing a fun activity in which everyone can participate.
It’s also important to go to Confession on a regular basis. This sacrament gives us much-needed graces to help overcome persistent sins. Again, make this a family activity. If your parish’s Confession times are not convenient, make an appointment with the priest.
Read and Study the Bible
Fr. John Riccardo, a popular priest on Catholic radio, says that if you’re not hearing God talk to you, it’s because you’re not reading His Word. God speaks to us through the Bible, and you will receive many graces and blessings by reading it daily. If you’re not sure where to start, read all the gospels. Try to set a goal to read a chapter of the Bible each day—it only takes a few minutes. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to know, understand and live God’s Word. If your parish offers a Bible study, sign up or start your own. There are also many wonderful Catholic Bible studies available online.
Most Catholics are used to saying prayers, such as the Our Father, Hail Mary, Rosary, etc. but we often don’t take the time to truly pray. In order to have a relationship with God, we must talk to Him and listen in return. Try to devote time throughout the day to pray and be sure to let your family see you doing this occasionally, or better yet, ask them to join you. You might even set aside an area of your home for prayer. A simple start would be a chair and a small table with a Bible, candle and maybe a crucifix or statue of your favourite saint.
Get to Know the Saints
The saints are our heroes and heroines in faith. They are our role models—ordinary people who learned to live extraordinary lives. We can grow in our own faith by reading their writings and biographies. If you have a patron saint, learn more about him or her. If not, find a saint who interests you. There are patron saints for just about every profession, interest and hobby. There are also several American saints and modern-day saints who lived in the last 20-100 years. Saints are also powerful intercessors. You can pray for their assistance and guidance.
Learn More About Your Faith
For most Catholics, formal religious instruction ends at Confirmation, usually around the 8th grade. If you haven’t learned anything more about your faith since then, it’s time to go back to school! This doesn’t have to be tedious or boring. There are plenty of dynamic Catholic speakers such as Fr. John Riccardo, Fr. Dave Dwyer, Scott Hahn, and Jeff Cavins. There are also a lot of great Catholic radio stations, books, podcasts, and smartphone apps. Try a few different ones to find what most appeals to you. Share any revelations or favourites with your family. If you have any questions about your faith, refer to The Catechism of the Catholic Church, available in book form or online.