Dear Parents and Children in Christ,
Welcome Back! I hope all of you had a pleasant, restful and wonderful summer with family and friends. Faith Formation is a lifelong pursuit rather than something accomplished in a single year. Each year builds on the previous one. Let us look forward to adding another strong building block to our lives in the coming year and become more familiar with our faith and grow more in our understanding of the Scripture and Sacraments and cultivate a deeper relationship with Jesus.
This year our beloved Pope Francis has called an extraordinary Synod of Bishops from around the world to meet in October and consider the Pastoral Challenges facing the Family in this age of Evangelization. The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a Christian vocation; marriage involves a call from God and a response from two people who promise to build, with the help of divine grace, a lifelong, intimate and sacramental partnership of love and life. The call to marriage is a particular way of living the universal call to holiness given to every Christian in the Sacrament of Baptism.
Marriage between two baptized persons is a sacrament; it is saying that the couple’s relationship expresses in a unique way the unbreakable bond of love between Christ and his people. Like the other six sacraments of the Church, marriage is a sign or symbol which reveals the Lord Jesus and through which his divine life and love are communicated.
Pope Paul VI wrote: “By the Sacrament of Matrimony husband and wife are strengthened and…consecrated for the faithful accomplishment of their proper duties, for the carrying out of their proper vocation even to perfection, and the Christian witness which is proper to them before the whole world” (Humanae Vitae, n. 25).The divine grace in the sacrament of matrimony brings to the spouses the particular help they need to be faithful and to be good parents. It also helps a couple to serve others beyond their immediate family and to show the community that a loving and lasting marriage is both desirable and possible.
The Christian family IS a church, the smallest and most vital cell of the Body of Christ. The extended church community is a family of families. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, par.11 says “The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care vocation to a sacred state”. So the family is the basis and the foundation of faith formation for our children. We need to start this faith formation at a very young age. The CCD classes are merely an extension of this faith formation and if the weekly CCD lessons that our children learn are not re-enforced and supported by parents at home, there is a very good chance of it being lost and forgotten in the maze of worldly life.
As Pope Francis tells us in his letter to families “In your journey as a family, you share so many beautiful moments: meals, rest, housework, leisure, prayer, trips and pilgrimages, and times of mutual support… Nevertheless, if there is no love then there is no joy, and authentic love comes to us from Jesus. He offers us his word, which illuminates our path; he gives us the Bread of life which sustains us on our journey.”
Fr. Thomas Kadukapillil (Vicar)
Director, CCD program