The summer has flown by at the speed of light (as it always seems to), and a new school year is about to begin. Understandably, most parents want to send their children to the best schools — with the best teachers, the best curricula, the best sports programs and extracurricular activities.
What a significant number of parents do not have is a similar desire with respect to their children’s religious formation and education. Religious education directors will often complain that, for many families in their parishes, attendance at Sunday Mass and participation in the CCD program are relatively low on the priority list (if they’re on it at all!). Competitive sports, social activities — or simply the desire for a few more hours of sleep on Sundays — are all deemed more important than growing in the knowledge and love of the Lord.
Parents need to remember that they are the primary religious educators of their children, and that much of the education given to children comes from parental example. What parents value and cherish, in all likelihood their children will come to value and cherish.
As Catholics, nothing should be valued and cherished more than our relationship with the God who created and redeemed us. If a child doesn’t attend the most prestigious grade school or college, he or she might experience some negative temporal consequences in this life. But if a child fails to come to know, love and serve the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the consequences are likely to be eternal.
Which should be all the motivation Catholic parents need to make Sunday Mass and the religious education of their children their top priority!