By Manolito S. Jaldon, Jr.
Director of Evangelization & Faith Formation, St. Brendan Parish
Last year the Office of Faith Formation at the Archdiocese took a survey among its catechists. Sixty-seven parishes out of the ninety parishes participated. The results tell us that in San Francisco 112 students participated in Faith Formation as Under 5 members; 1181 were registered in grades 1-6; 2312 students were preparing for First Holy Communion and 1816 were participating in their preparation for Confirmation. The vineyard is abundant in San Francisco County!
This ministry has been popularly called CCD, which stood for the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, established in 1562. Awe-inspiring saints like Charles Borromeo, Robert Bellarmine, and Peter Canisius, supported the Pope Pius V in establishing the confraternity in which lay people learned methods on teaching the doctrine and eternal truths of the faith.
In a modern post-conciliar world, the ministry is now called Religious Education or Faith Formation because we do more than teach the catechism. We teach children to live life with Jesus at the center of their studies, social groups, and communities. We allow children to ask their questions about Christ in order that they may find him as life’s greatest friend. We train children to be integrated into the parish life through our various ministries, so that they feel a sense of belonging - they feel that the Church is the extension of their front porch at home!
At Saint Brendan Parish, we have looked to Sadlier, Loyola Ministry, and Life Teen as our catechetical tools to form people in faith. We focus more on just having students learn doctrine and eternal truths. We focus on having students encounter the authentic Christ who gathers us around the Eucharist each Sunday. We are disciples forming disciples, not just getting them through sacramental programs. We have 47 students registered into our Faith Formation where we collaborate with families in doing catechesis both at the parish level and at home. We focus on instilling Gospel values to your children and teens.
This task is not only a major undertaking as a parish, it is essential. It is a fact that if by the time teens go to High School and do not commit to a youth group or parish ministry they will leave the Church and find their sense of belonging elsewhere! We can no longer fall into the myth that your teens will return to Church when they begin a family as young adults. Millennials today must be convicted of something or they will fall for anything.
I can personally testify that there is a hunger to rediscover the authentic Christ for teens. They hunger to know more about this love that is hidden in the Eucharist and that guides their political deliberations against a society that has ignored or become passive of this saving God. As we continue to move through this Faith Formation Year, let our discussions with our children around the dinner table and at home not be about a subject in a program or academic textbook. Rather, let our discussions be about a person - Jesus, who is personally connected in our lives, reigns in the domestic Church we know as the family.
Saint Brendan Church in San Francisco. Check out our exciting featured news articles.