In Renewing the Vision, it says
Ministry with adolescents recognizes that the family has the primary responsibility for the faith formation of young people and that the parish and Catholic school share in it.
But what if the family is not involved, AT ALL!
I have had this discussion with many leaders and have heard many different takes on how they handle the need for more adult involvement in our youth programs. Some of them, when they do not have enough Catechists, just start turning kids down until more adults step up. Others just make group sizes larger and, while still searching and praying for more help, require even more from the adults that have stepped up.
I think the first thing is to just say it for what it is. It is a crisis.
I do not think we can so easily turn youth down that are coming to the Church for whatever reason and do not think we should be burning out those adults who so graciously give of their time by stacking more duties on their plate. Yes, many parents are failing to step up and be responsible for the faith of their child, but as the quote says above, we share in that failure. It is our fault as well and we have a lot of ground to make up in doing our part before we can really put all the blame on the parents.
So start asking yourself:
- How can we better serve the adults to help them in this responsibility?
- What is it that is stopping adults from stepping up?
- How can we better utilize the people that are stepping up?
- How can we better use our time to reach out and support the adults in parishes?
Even if Adult Faith Formation is not in your job description. You have a ministry to the parents because you share in their responsibilities.
A few quick tips that may help:
- Start a parent newsletter with encouraging words, bits of training and wisdom, explanation of current youth culture.
- Make yourself more available and present to the adults in the parish by doing adult things in the parish (weird I know!)
- Call parents often just to thank them and encourage them for having their youth involved in the parish.
Hope that helps.
Do you have other ideas of how we can help? What do you do in regard to requiring parent involvement in your parish? Do you require it? Should we? Please discuss below in the comment section.