16 May, 2022 – Pastor’s Corner

Dear Parishioners:
Continuing from last week, I would like to reflect on the second item that
has been close to my heart for these last four years that I have served as
your pastor: Youth Ministry.
The first and primary responsibility for educating our children in the
Catholic Faith rests with their parents, who are to be assisted and
supported by the godparents, and Confirmation sponsors. They should
also be assisted by grandparents, uncles and aunts, and the entire
extended family. When the Catholics of Japan had no priests — for 200
years — they taught their children the faith, and the Catholic faith was
vibrant and strong when priests were once again allowed into Japan.
The parish is our spiritual family (as part of the larger spiritual family
which is the entire Catholic Church), and it also has a role to play in
assisting parents to educated their children in the faith. But it CANNOT
pass on the faith without the aid and support (and primary task being
performed) by the parents. Bringing your children once a week to CCD
classes, for an hour and a half, is not a substitute for your responsibility
to teach and form your children as disciples of Christ at home! The good
work that our CCD teachers do — and it is a very good work — is a
supplement to your role, and can help to guide you in what your children
should be learning at home.
There can be no successful “youth ministry” in a parish without the active
support and backing of the parents. One of the biggest heartaches that I
have experienced is watching good kids, from good Catholic families,
drop out of CCD and the high school Youth Group, all because their
parents do not prioritize it. We put sports, band, clubs, secular studies —
just about everything — ahead of our Catholic faith and our relationship
with God! How many of you would allow your 13 year old, or 16 year old,
to drop out of school? How many of you would say that “you know
enough already, there’s nothing left for you to learn”? Nobody would say
that! And yet, we allow our teens to stop coming to religious education,
and we are not actually teaching them at home either!
I implore you: teach your children (including teens) at home about the
Catholic Faith — what we believe, how we are to live and pray and
worship as intentional disciples of Christ, as Catholic Christians, and also
bring them to religious education, where they can learn even more, and
where they can build friendships with other Catholic kids their age. We
should not expect our children to “magically” stay in the Church if we are
not being intentional about their education and formation as Catholic
Next year, you will have Fr. Joel, Fr. Nathan, Fr. Joseph, Deacon David,
and Deacon Bruce all helping to teach your children in our CCD program,
along with our excellent lay teachers, led by Dr. Cheryl Whitlow, our
DRE. We need YOU to support them, to back up their efforts, and to help
them in passing on the Faith to the next generation of Catholics!
Fr. Ben

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