Thursday, January 14, 2010


Someone out there may already have a solution to this problem or perhaps have an insight from being a person who finds themselves affected by this problem. So before we spend too much brain time on it I thought I would throw it out to you for you in put.

As parish many of our programs assume that children are from relatively intact families and can meet the demands of our programs. More and more however this is not the case. So we have a sacramental program and a child does not show up much of the time. It might be a little less worrisome for programs that meet weekly as a child may be caught up. But when a program meets monthly or even every other month and they miss half of those the program is essentially gutted for them.

Now there are those that are simply choosing other programs over their sacramental training (backed by their parents! “They can’t miss basketball think of the team!” Of course I am more concerned about their immortal soul. Neither of us can understand the point of view of the other.) This is an entirely different topic. This problem is more difficult. It concerns the children of divorced parents.

Too often one parent can only have a child here every other week. Maybe. Just as often the other parent does not want anything to do with the faith so there is absolutely no support from that end. So we have a child who, through no fault of their own, has little tie to the community, comes to Mass and sacraments spottily, and who knows little about the faith.

It is not like all the kids that this affects have the same schedule or are in the same grade so there is a need to cover all grades and one any given day or time. As a parish we are already understaffed and a volunteer (after they are Virtus trained etc.) would have to be able to teach a child of any given grade and tropic at any given time. We might ask a guardian or parent to “home school” which might be a solution but often – now that they are on their own – their time is stretched to the limit.

So – there is the problem. Do YOU have any ideas that might help these children out?


Anonymous said...

I was speaking about a similar topic today - but mine had to do with home schoolers and those that do opt to prepare their children at home being excluded from functions (RE children only-so they are not allowed at most functions/don't know community that well).
This is very sad.
Not unless you opened up your program some and did a total parish catechises.
Many items can be made available online.
Followup/questions answered could be done online, maybe?
I know one diocese that has everything listed (including questions) that is the basic requirement for each sacrament online so it is easy access to see for yourself if your child is ready or not.
Maybe the catechist listing topics they are covering for the week?
This is assuming they have access to the internet.

Kat said...

One option, depending on the age and maturity of the child is to use a program online for your parish. Such as using Moodle (free and open source) to set up "classes" for the various stages of formation of the kids, they can then access the information online, or if they are younger the parents can access it, print anything relevent and submit it either online through the site, or though mail or to the teacher the next time they are in class.

Cost would be minimal as just for hosting etc, which does fairly cheaply ($70 a year) and depending on who you get to set it up for you a stipend of somesort. so initally you could look at spending I would say depending on the customization of the site and the depth you want it to go less then $2500 for set up and hosting costs plus $70/per year for hosting or there abouts and if each teacher maintains their own "class room" little to no tech support fees which even if you did have continual support from someone on minor changes after the fact the cost would be minimal I would say (depending on the amount of continual work and if there is someone in the parish to do most of the basics you are looking at less then $250.00 a year.

You can look at moodle by going to

various schools, educational associations and online learning platforms use it. email me if you have questions

Anonymous said...

Provide a nursery for the children as needed, and hold classes for the parent (or, very often, grandparent). The parent then goes home and teaches the lesson to the child.

It is a model used by one of our missionary priests with tremendous success.

(I will be happy to send on contact information privately if you are interested in learning more.)

Elena LaVictoire said...

This one is interesting.

Anonymous said...

Home school teaching from the parent: Give them the Baltimore Catechism or similar Catechism to start and then a specific book about the sacrement.

Deacon Bill Burns said...

I was going to respond here, but I think this topic needs a bit more development than I can give in a combox. I have personal experience with this situation, and I can tell you that the biggest problems are not necessarily with instruction.

Fr. V said...

Thank you everybody. Great ideas for us to build on here! I am very excited.

Theocoid - if you wouldn't mind please send me an Email JAVALENCHECL@AOL.COM if you think what you have to say might help.