Parents are primary catechists. Repeatedly we are told this. We haven’t seen a whole lot from the GDC as of yet on that point. This section doesn’t have a lot to say in dancing around the matter. Depending on the culture, the state of faith, and even parish to parish, there are varied concerns. The diocese or region (deanery?) would be the place for a pastoral plan to be discerned, put into place, then continually evaluated as, hopefully, progress is made:
76. Christian education in the family, catechesis and religious instruction in schools are, each in its own way, closely interrelated with the service of Christian education of children, adolescents, and young people. In practice, however, different factors must be taken into consideration in order to proceed realistically and with pastoral prudence in the application of general guidelines.
It is for each diocese or pastoral region to discern the diverse circumstances which arise with regard to the existence or not of Christian initiation of children in the context of the family, and with regard to the formative duties which are traditionally exercised by the parish, the school etc. Consequently the particular Church and the Episcopal Conference shall establish proper guidelines for various situations and foster distinct but complementary activities.
Silence is one of the most important virtues for worship. Note it is the first major topic to merit attention in the GIRM’s treatment on the Liturgy of the Word. Before readings. Before music. Before prayers. Before anything priestly.
56. The Liturgy of the Word is to be celebrated in such a way as to favor meditation, and so any kind of haste such as hinders recollection is clearly to be avoided. In the course of it, brief periods of silence are also appropriate, accommodated to the assembled congregation; by means of these, under the action of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God may be grasped by the heart and a response through prayer may be prepared. It may be appropriate to observe such periods of silence, for example, before the Liturgy of the Word itself begins, after the First and Second Reading, and lastly at the conclusion of the Homily.[General Introduction to the Lectionary 28]
What isn’t worthy of comment here?
- Avoid any semblance of haste
- Even brief moments of silence are important.
- Silence should be accommodated to the faith community, and I would presume the community in turn is gently apprenticed in the practice of silence. I find that with children, it can be helpful to give them two or three possible things to do during their periods of silence. Many catechists have found that five or six-year-olds can appreciate and draw great benefit from silent prayer.
- Silence before the first reading: how many of us practice this?
- My only criticism in this section is that the psalm should also be framed with silence–it is considered a musical interpretation of the inspired word of God.
A bishop could urge his clergy and laity to take a whole year to examine silence, how to do it, and what fruits to expect from it.