When I was a kid, Saturday mornings weren’t about sleeping in, or watching cartoons, or playing sports. Saturday mornings meant getting up early, putting on school clothes, and going to CCD. CCD, which stands for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, by the way, was old-school catechism class. The bane of every Catholic kid, it was thewelcomed Saturday morning respite for every Catholic mother.
While all my non-Catholic friends were busy with softball or volleyball or gymnastics or camping or swim team or sleeping in or watching cartoons, my two sisters, brother and I went to catechism. For EIGHT years.
My first traumatic experience occurred in catechism. I was in kindergarten and it was during Advent. Each class was participating in the Christmas pageant (I can say Christmas because this is a Catholic blog and how ridiculous would “Holiday” pageant sound, right?), and I was supposed to be an angel wrapped in a white sheet singing “Silent Night”. But my mother, who was chronically late to everything when I was growing up, got us there late. I was supposed to meet my class in our
classroom, but everyone was already gone by the time I wandered down the hall
in my crazy sheet costume. I got turned around. I got confused. I was lost.
I was five. I started to cry.
I don’t remember exactly who found me, but some kind soul walked me to the auditorium, where I came in just in time to see my class finishing on stage, hearing the last lines of “sleep in heavenly peace” as I got to the stage steps. So much for my singing debut. But the experienced scarred me. Really. Ask my kids. We’re never late to anything. To the point of sometimes being way, way, WAY early. They’ll thank me someday. They’re 25 and 23. I’m still waiting for that day, but I know it’s
What the Catechism Says
One of my favorite sections of the Catechism is found in CCC #1666, which says “the Christian home is place where children receive the first proclamation of the
faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called “the domestic church”, a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.”
I love this teaching because it so aptly reflects what is happening in churches around the country. The days of drop-off catechism are gone. Parents are deeply involved in the education of the faith. As they should be. Who better to teach our
children what we believe than us. Some parishes even have what I call Family Catechesis. Parents as well as children attend faith formation classes and are better Christians because of it. When the family goes home, the learning continues
through workbooks and activities that everyone can do together. Christ lives, and not just on Sunday!
So as we prepare to send our children back to Catechism, or Sacramental Prep classes, or whatever your parish calls religious education, or simply back to school in the coming weeks, let us remember that we are the Domestic Church. Our faith first begins at home. Our learning first begins at home. Our loving first begins at home. And let us also remember, things that happen today can stay with a child for a long, long, time. Like 45 years long. But who’s counting? Not this angel.