Knowing our faith is about knowing Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Knowledge of our faith involves fostering a relationship with Jesus Christ. After all, the content of our faith is meaningless outside of an encounter with Jesus – the One who is all-loving all-forgiving, and who took upon himself our sin to restore our relationship with God. This is the Good News – the good knowledge, if you will – the message to be known, lived, and shared with one another and the world.
Discernment Session Recommendations:
Studies clearly show the best way to pass faith to the next generation is through the parent(s). The parents’ practice of the faith is the single best indicator of whether or not a child practices the faith into adulthood. Helping parents to become comfortable in modeling a life lived in relationship with Jesus is the goal of faith formation.
Catechesis (teaching the faith) at any age is secondary to an encounter with Jesus. A focus on the teachings of our faith outside of a relationship with Jesus is like providing a road map to someone who has no idea why he would want to go on the trip in the first place (Bonacci). Evangelize first, catechize second. The primary opportunity to facilitate an encounter with Jesus and to catechize adults is the homily – a natural place to connect their everyday lives with the truth of the Gospel.
Building parents’ confidence in modeling a relationship with Christ is the task of the parish community. This involves facilitating opportunities for the parents and their children to encounter Jesus and to learn to see where Jesus is at work in their daily lives. Above all, the family friendly parish insists on a spirit of hospitality, welcome and joy offered to all – to the family of 1 to the family numbering 101!
Tools to help you consider the recommendations: