With the fourth theme of Chapter Six we’ll discuss “Places of Formation for Missionary Disciples.” This will take us right to section 346, the end of the chapter. A brief intro:
301. We will now briefly consider some spaces of formation of missionary disciples.
Before we get to the “first school of faith.”
302. The family, “patrimony of humanity” constitutes one of the most valuable treasures of Latin American peoples. It has been the setting and school of communion, source of human and civic values, and home where human life is born and is welcomed generously and responsibly. In order for the family to be “school of faith” and be able to help parents to be the first catechists of their children, family ministry must offer opportunities for formation, catechetical materials, and moments of celebration that will enable it to fulfill its educational mission. The family is called to lead children along the path of Christian initiation. Together with the parish, the family, small church, must be the primary place for Christian initiation of children.(Sacramentum Caritatis 19) It offers children a Christian meaning of existence and accompanies them in charting their direction in life, as missionary disciples.
Above, I noticed “moments of celebration.” Without liturgy and social gatherings (both of which I would place under these moments) catechesis remains simply a school. Ask yourself how much middle school math, history, or science you remember. Especially if you aren’t a scientist, teacher, or politician.
The challenge is that parents, by and large, do not see themselves as disciples, but rather Church members. I wonder if the base communities of Latin America offer more in this regard than North American parishes on their maintenance kick.
303. It is also a duty of parents, especially through the example of their life, to educate their children for love as gift of themselves and to aid them to discover their vocation of service, whether in lay life or consecrated life. Thus, the formation of their children as disciples of Jesus Christ takes place in the experiences of daily life in the family itself. Children are entitled to be able to count on their father and mother to take care of them and be with them on the way toward fullness of life. “Family catechesis” carried out in different ways has proven to be a successful help in family unity, as well as offering an efficient possibility for forming parents, youth, and children to be firm witnesses of the faith in their respective communities.
“Different ways” of catechesis strikes me here. Are we prepared to dream of models of formation and help parents implement these in the home?
If you wish, remember to check an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.