First of all, thank you for bringing your children to catechism classes every Sunday. There are plenty of parents out there who would prefer that their children “choose for themselves” once they’re older. These parents choose to withhold all religious education to make sure that their children remain “unbiased” until they can make a decision themselves. As if that can actually happen.
I firmly believe that we are all religious creatures. We will inevitably worship something. It is in our nature. We can deny this nature as much as we want, but we cannot ignore the truth that humans always end up worshiping something. We were meant to worship God. In fact, we will only be satisfied if we worship God. But that won’t stop us from attempting to worship everything from ourselves to our iPhone. If we’re not taught how to worship God, we will eventually find something else to worship instead. Unfortunately, everything else is a weak facsimile compared to the real thing.
Your children want to worship God. Every time I see them in class, the truth hits me anew. Your children want to worship God. They are aching for the chance. Still young and unscathed by the world, they can recognize the truth when it’s set in front of them. When I tell your children about God, they desperately long to know Him better. They want to learn about Him. They want to love Him. They want to worship Him.
And that longing is killing them. Your children want to worship God, but that desire is tearing them apart from the inside out. Because of you. Because they love you. Because they want to make you happy. Because they want to obey you. Because they want to go to Mass, and you won’t bring them. Because they want to go to Mass, and they are afraid to tell you. Because they want to go to Mass, and you’ve already told them “no.” They want to spend an hour worshiping the God that they have learned to love, and the human being(s) that they love the most are apathetic to their desires.
Now, obviously, this isn’t addressed to all CCD parents- there are plenty of parents who do bring their children to Mass every Sunday. And it’s certainly not only a request to parents in my own program. I am sure that I am not the only catechist who hates seeing your children so distraught. There are children like this in my current program. There were children like this in my last program. I’m sure that there are children like this in every CCD program in the country. It’s a growing problem, spreading like a disease that is targeting our impressionable youth.
But this disease has the simplest cure imaginable: just take them to church. On a regular basis, you make healthy choices for your little girl or boy. You make sure that they eat their veggies, and you limit the amount of sugar that they regularly consume. You monitor their TV shows religiously, and you make sure that they spend more time outside than in front of the computer. You regularly make choices for your children that encourage them to be healthier and happier. And you’re not afraid to make sacrifices for your children. You spend more money in the supermarket to make sure that your child is eating well. You take sick days to bring your coughing child to the pediatrician. You listen to your children talk for hours about their favorite TV shows, movie characters, and elementary classroom shenanigans. You are willing to make all sorts of sacrifices for your children, but you draw the line at bringing them to Mass. Why?
You work so hard to make sure that your children are healthy and happy, but in a very real way, they are not. You go to great lengths to strengthen your children’s bodies, while meanwhile their souls are withering. You give them everything else that they need, but you deny them the most important gift you can give them. Faith. They want to worship, but they will not be deceived by the weak facsimiles that our modern society proposes as alternatives. They will not worship themselves. They will not worship their favorite TV and movie characters. They will not worship toys, food, or any other object. They only want to worship God.
They only want you to let them worship God. Catechism classes are not a suitable replacement to Mass. I can teach your children about God, but I cannot give your children the Eucharist. I cannot give them God. They can only get that in Mass. So please, I beg you, bring your children to church. I know that you want them to be happy and healthy. I know that you want what’s best for them. You give them so much, but you do not realize that you are denying them the most important gift that you can give them. And the good news? It’s free and will require only one hour of your time per week. I know that one hour per week sounds like a lot, but that’s one hour out of the 168 hours that you are given every week. Can you give up one hour out of 168 every week if it meant the eternal happiness of your child? Your children have already told their teachers that they want to go to Mass. Some of them have even told us that they asked you to bring them, and you told them ‘no.’ Others have told us that they want to go, but are afraid to ask you. But now I’m telling you. Your children want to go to Mass. They want you to say ‘yes.’ They want to share this experience with you. So please, take them. Make just one more sacrifice for your beloved children. For the love of your children, please bring them to Mass.
Your Child’s Catechist
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!