January 31, 2020

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

Forming our children to be disciples of Christ in challenging times

Sean GallagherIt’s hard for me to be more proud of three of my sons than I was last week.

On Jan. 22, my son Victor was an altar server during a Respect Life Mass at a packed St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis. He then participated with his brother Philip, other students from Lumen Christi Catholic School and hundreds of other pro-life supporters in the Indiana March for Life that made its way around the nearby Monument Circle to the Indiana Statehouse.

Two days later, my son Raphael was one of hundreds of thousands from across the country who participated in the national March for Life in Washington. He marched alongside his fellow students at Lumen Christi Catholic High School in Indianapolis.

It was wonderful for me, so many years after these boys were born and baptized, to see them be witnesses for the Gospel in such concrete and public ways.

When Victor, Raphael and their three brothers were baptized, my wife, Cindy, and I promised before God and the Church, in the words of the Rite of Baptism, to carry out “the responsibility of training [them] in the practice of the faith … to bring [them] up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and neighbor.”

I know full well that there have been more than a few times when I’ve failed to keep that promise.

So, seeing my boys take such a public stand for the Gospel of Life and to know that the convictions behind these stands are taking root in their young hearts was a heartfelt reminder of just how much heavy lifting God does in helping my sons to become the young men he’s created them to be.

Yes, he’s called Cindy and I to do our part every day in this sacred task. And some days that part seems far beyond my capabilities. But, in all honesty, it is a mission that even mothers and fathers far more honed in parenting than I am cannot accomplish through human effort alone. God has to do the heavy lifting.

We parents need God’s help every day to carry out the promise we made on the day our children were baptized.

I know this reality not only when I reflect on my own imperfections, but also when I consider the challenges that face me and all Catholic parents in today’s society.

We get little help from the prevailing culture in our mission of forming our young people to be disciples of Jesus Christ who live out their faith in all aspects of their lives. Indeed, the many dehumanizing trends in our society work squarely against us.

This stark reality should motivate all parents regularly to turn to God, his angels and saints every day for their help to carry out their mission that is so vital to the Church and the world.

And we need to offer these prayers not only on our own behalf, but for all parents. As hard as our task is, we Catholic parents need to stick together. Knowing we’re not alone in this struggle can be a source of encouragement in difficult times.

Every Catholic parent wants to see their children live in a world that more closely resembles the kingdom of God. Forming our children to be witnesses for the Gospel of Life in the midst of a society that so often sadly and callously deals out death is a prime way for us to see this desire fulfilled.

With God’s help and our mutual support, I am confident that our children will spread the Gospel of Life far and wide in our society. †

Local site Links: