Whatever happened to the ‘lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer?’ I’ve been busy at work. The kids are worth it, however, worth all the time and energy it takes to bring them to God. We are currently working with a graphic designer to create a book for the kids to use at Mass.
Religious Education needs to be changed- it’s not working. The once-a-week, drop off at the curb, is not working and so we are changing what we do at our church. The changes that we have implemented have not been popular with a lot of our parents. Last year when we began, we held parent meetings to explain the changes. We lost about 200 children from our program because the parents were angry. Their reactions reinforced our beliefs about the ‘traditional’ rel. ed. curriculum.
We’re still working, but we’ve come a long way…..more about it soon. Our children are not the future church, they are the church right now and we’re losing them. It’s not limited to the Catholic Church, my Christian friends who work in their churches have the same concerns. It’s across the board.
Bear with me…..more soon!!!
I am unclear from your post what changes you are making to the curriculum that got parents angry.
Great comment Rich, I posted in a hurry and didn’t explain well. We reorganized the entire program into what we call Mass-Class-Blast (Bible learning and story telling). We pulled all the classes to Sundays, gr 1-6 in the am, gr 7&8 in the evening. They used to have a choice of 4 different days to attend. The kids meet everyother week and on the ‘off’ week they have a home session to complete. (This summer we are putting all the home sessions online – that’s where the kids spend their time, right?) The parents were upset that they had to come on Sundays and that Mass was part of the program. They didn’t want to give up their sports, etc. But, we felt as though we could do this – Sundays – Third Commandment, etc. The Mass is a teaching Mass and our Pastor is great with the kids. He puts the Altar on the floor next to the pews and really relates with them. At the Offertory, he does a ‘what’s up with that’ segment where he explains something about the ‘environment’ of the Church. Then they go to class, as usual, and then for the last twenty minutes they gather in the gym with me and I tell them a Bible Story – beginning with Creation and ‘marching’ through the OT. We then play a game (big group- ~ 150) that relates to the Story they just heard. This was our first year and it was a great success. The kids loved the program and learned so much. We even created a very contemporary, colorful Mass book for the little ones to follow along. 7th and 8th are formatted a bit differently because the teens need something different. But, some of their comments at the end of the year were, ‘I learned so much this year,’ I can’t believe that I didn’t like coming to Mass before,’ etc. They left after 2 1/2 hours smiling and saying that they wanted to stay longer!!! Many of the families that left are registering and coming back this year. The Mass is the central part of our program and Jesus has worked miracles with these kids.
By the way, I just finished your book, ‘Lessons Along the Journey’ and liked it very, very much! I will post on it this week.
It sounds like you are on the right track.