June 23, 2006

Be Our Guest / Lisa Marie Taylor

Let the children come to me: A parent’s role

In three of the four Gospels, we hear Jesus say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

It is important for us parents to realize that we are responsible for bringing our children to him. It is our role to bring them to Jesus in the sacredness of our Catholic faith and traditions.

Summer is an excellent time to enhance the faith of our children. With the longer days and no homework, we can encourage their faith with fun, simple activities.

Here are a few suggestions:

• Teach them about the Mass by bringing them to daily Mass. I have found that I have more time to explain the importance of Mass in a less crowded, shorter time frame.

• Help them become a part of the Sunday liturgy by helping them listen and watch all that is happening as we celebrate the Eucharist together. Go to www.catholicmom.com to find a list of age-appropriate questions for each Sunday’s liturgy.

• Take your children to an adoration chapel. Show them Jesus in the presence of the Eucharist.

In 1996, Pope John Paul II said, “I urge you to teach the younger generation the meaning and value of Eucharistic adoration and devotion. How will young people be able to know the Lord, if they are not introduced to the mystery of his presence?”

• Visit the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center in Beech Grove. There is an outdoor labyrinth, a prayerful walking path. There, you and your children will find a path to Jesus. It is a wonderful way to focus on Christ while you pray. The children will enjoy following the labyrinth to find out where it ends. There are picnic tables nearby. You can make it a wonderful summer experience.

• Visit Mother of Our Redeemer Retreat Center in Bloomington. There, you will find a rosary walk, the Stations of the Cross and a chapel on a hill. They also present retreats for families on weekends throughout the year. It is a beautiful place to share our Catholic traditions with our children. My children love to play in the holy water which comes from an old-fashioned pump.

• Pray the rosary.

• Teach them about their patron saint. Help them learn how their behavior could be more saintly.

• Volunteer to help give food and clothing to the poor.

• Take a blessings hike at a park or in your home. Look for all the things that God has given us. Be thankful for all things. Help them recognize the daily graces we receive.

• Pray! Pray! Pray!

Enjoy your summer! Count your blessings! Love your children!

(Lisa Taylor is a member of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis. For more information on the above suggestions, contact her at taylormom5@sbcglobal.net.)



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