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  #1  
Old Jun 22, '04, 9:04 am
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BCarpenelli BCarpenelli is offline
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Unhappy Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

Hi,

I'm in the process of becoming Catholic and my wife is "reverting" back to the Church. Our only concern is what seems like a lack of age appropriate programs, etc in the Catholic Church? Specifically, a nursery for children, and sunday school for young children-high school age? I understand that a great deal of Catholic Teaching to our children will come from the home, but these types of programs were abundant in our old Evangelical Protestant Church (this is something they do well). Childrens' groups would meet on Sunday and Junior High/High School groups during the week. We personally believe that they can reinforce spiritual discipline and be crucial to development (especially the teenage years). A lack of reinforcement is one of the things that lead to my wife falling away from the church during post confirmation.

We have a 13 month old son, and there is no nursery at the Parish we attend. Since the speaker system in the Cry Room is poor, we normally don't hear much of the Mass. We usually end up attending Mass separately for this reason.

Does anyone know why most parishes do not have a nursery or age appropriate programs? Is it a lack of volunteers? For those of you with children, how do you overcome this obstacle? I would appreciate any feedback.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old Jun 22, '04, 9:08 am
darcee darcee is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

Because Mass is Celebration of the Eucharist not education time. Most parishes do have religious education just not one Sunday thought some do have it on Sunday.




-D
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  #3  
Old Jun 22, '04, 9:11 am
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BCarpenelli BCarpenelli is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

Right, for those that understand (adults) but alot of kids do not understand and therefore it has to be simplified. Most kids I see in Mass are coloring not being educated.
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  #4  
Old Jun 22, '04, 9:16 am
stbruno stbruno is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

Your baby is little,and this time will pass.But there are many churches that have the Liturgy of the Word for Children during "Family masses" This is a time that is set aside during the homily whereby the children exit the church with volunteers and they discuss the gospel at an age appropriate level, then the children come back into the main body of the church to complete the liturgy of the Eucharist with their families. If your church does not provide this service, volunteer to help others join together for this worthy cause. It is a way for you to network with other families in the same situation. Believe it or not, there are workshops usually provided during the year in most dioceses for this very purpose. Books are available to help you through this time. In the meantime, go to a Catholic bookstore, and purchase age appropriate books that discuss what is going on in mass with great illustrations and stories. They can follow along with their very own book. Our kids are now in college, and I do youth ministry in our parish. It all started for me in this way. Welcome home to the Catholic faith!
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  #5  
Old Jun 22, '04, 9:22 am
stbruno stbruno is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

One more piece of advice...Consider getting a subscription to Catholic Parent Magazine. It is terrific. It offers wonderful information no matter what age your child is from infancy to young adulthood! Good luck! It is published by Our Sunday Visitor . I guarantee it you will enjoy it and recommend it to others. We do at all our Baptismal prep sessions with new parents.
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  #6  
Old Jun 22, '04, 9:25 am
prodigal prodigal is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

I'm actually opposed to Catholic Sunday School.

Our young ones attend Mass with us. Although they may not understand everything that is happening (heck, I expect many adults let it slip by) we have decided it is very important to convey to our children that something very holy and special is happening at each Mass and how important it is to attend and participate.

Certainly, they behave better some weeks than others, but it is very important that they recognize that the Mass is the focal point of our Catholic Community.

In fact, on Sunday, I noticed our two year old standing, sitting and kneeling with the congregation and trying to offer the responses. What a great Father's Day gift that was.

Education in the Faith happens at home and in weekly CCD, but there should be no substitute for the Mass.

Frankly, I suspect that the "Sunday School" program at our parish was inspired by people who have adopted some of our culture's hatred of children and cannot tolerate children who might not exhibit perfect behavior at every moment. Children are a blessing and I'll suffer the slings and arrows of other parishoners who glare when one of our kids might slip up.
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  #7  
Old Jun 22, '04, 9:40 am
darcee darcee is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BCarpenelli
Right, for those that understand (adults) but alot of kids do not understand and therefore it has to be simplified. Most kids I see in Mass are coloring not being educated.


yes, but that is because Mass is Celebration of the Eucharist not education time. The children should be educated ABOUT the mass at home and in the religious ed programs offered by the parish. While they are at mass they are celebrating the Eucharist with the rest of the parish. It does take them a while to learn enough about it to really understand. My three year old is just starting to get it.

-D
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  #8  
Old Jun 22, '04, 11:19 am
Kevin Cassidy
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

BCarpenenelli,

Unfortutanately the only thing most parishes have to offer education wise is the parochial school. So basically until junior turns 5 and starts school there will be few if any programs geared towards you or him. No nursery, no preschool and no adult education or Bible studies. There are some exceptions and hopefully you can find a parish that has these things but the parochial school was a great idea 100 years ago when you had an army of religious women running the schools for free. Nowadays we have lay peole who need money to raise their family and there is very little extra at most parishes. Do the math folks, the collection is posted in every bulletin I have seen. Multiply that by 52 find out what tuition is and there is your answer.

Now some of you mention that Mass is not an education hour(and you are right) but what would the harm be if we had Mass AND and an education hour say Mass at 9 education at 10 and another Mass at 11:15?

Welcome to the Church but just because we have the fullness of truth here does not mean we are perfect and between the lack of worthy music to the one track mindedness on parochial schools you will find it a new if not frustrating experience for you. Ask your wife for help getting through this.

You can try and change it but many are set in there ways.
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  #9  
Old Jun 22, '04, 11:33 am
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BCarpenelli BCarpenelli is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Cassidy
BCarpenenelli,

Unfortutanately the only thing most parishes have to offer education wise is the parochial school. .
I guess my wife and I will have to be inventive then. Thanks for the suggestions so far....
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Old Jun 22, '04, 1:49 pm
darcee darcee is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Cassidy
BCarpenenelli,
Now some of you mention that Mass is not an education hour(and you are right) but what would the harm be if we had Mass AND and an education hour say Mass at 9 education at 10 and another Mass at 11:15?
In our parish we have tried this.... and guess what virtually no one shows up. Just a handful of children. Most of these are the ones from the solid Catholic families who are getting it at home too.

One of the biggest problems is that parents in general do not take educating their children in the faith seriously enough.

-D
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  #11  
Old Jun 22, '04, 2:12 pm
lilder lilder is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

I felt lost with out "Sunday school" when I came into the church 4 years ago. I missed the socialization that happened during adult classes and wondered about that I was going to do when I had children. But honestly, I am not so concerned anymore. My son is almost a year, and we make it through most masses now without having to head towards the back. We have a nursery for infants, but I have never chosen to use it. Thankfully, our pastoral team is very accepting of children. (For the older children, we do have children's church at my parish.)

I am sorry I don't have any helpful advice. Just wanted to share that I've been there and with time I came to appreciate the fullness of Mass and no longer long for Sunday School.

Lilder
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  #12  
Old Jun 22, '04, 4:41 pm
chris138 chris138 is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

I use to complain about this too(before children I was protestant) , but after we began homeschooling, which took care of the education, a protestant friend of mine was complaining about that very thing, she said most of us are busy we have our children in school all day and are at work, etc, and then we walk in our chuch(she is baptist) and we all go separate directions, separated again. It really made me think about it and appreciate that we attend as a family. Now when our 2nd daughter was about your child's age we did have to attend separately for awhile because she wanted to move around to much and if you tried to correct her she let everyone know!!!! We just offered it up and knew that it was only temporary. Some children are able to go to church at every stage but not all(our daughter is 3 now and it is still a challenge for her to sit still, but she is quiet).

God bless, and welcome home, chris
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  #13  
Old Jun 22, '04, 10:02 pm
jkmcl jkmcl is offline
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Smile Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

We attend Mass with all of our children (3 of them) and our niece. We have attended together since they were very small. I avoid the cry room like the plague, it is too easy for me to be distracted and the children learn that this is a play time, not a time of worship.

Starting when they are infants, I whisper quietly to them about what the priest is doing, I point out the pictures of Jesus, the windows, the crucifix. I also help them to anticipate the arrival of Jesus in the Eucharist and take them to receive Jesus with me, they watch as I receive our Lord and they receive a blessing. It is never too early to start!

My children were also given some wonderful board books by their grandparents that helped them to understand what they are doing. Most Catholic books stores should have "We go to Mass", the "Hail Mary", etc. Buy kids' books. They are short enough for a toddler to sit through.

Now that my older children are homeschooled, we use the Faith and Life Catechetical Resources published through Ignatius Press. I believe Catholics United for the Faith produce this series. They are excellent and we use them in addition to the parish program. I find that these books are more comprehensive than much of the resources our parish uses. In fact, since I was catechized post-Vatican II, much of what I began teaching my kids was also new to me. They have helped my faith considerably and the kids like them. The books use real works of religious art and strong writing to communicate the faith. Many times resources for kids are very condescending and use dumbed down language and cartoon-y portrayals of Christ. I guess you could say I like this series.

A good place to find resources for kids is Emmanuel Books. They have a print catalog and a website, www.emmanuelbooks.com. There are many products for faith building in this catalog.

I imagine that you are also missing the fellowship of Sunday services at your old church. It can seem cold or indifferent sometimes when you go to Mass and everyone rushes in and out with hardly a 'hello'. I think that is a cultural difference that will have to be worked on. Get involved with the parish and any activities that are offered there. Volunteer to be an aide to a youth catechist.

I hope this helps. Jen in Ok
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  #14  
Old Jun 23, '04, 11:52 am
Katia Katia is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

Congratulations on coming into the Catholic Church! I'm a fellow convert (grew up Wesleyan). While I completely agree with other posters that the focus is the Mass, and that education classes are no substitute, I see no problem with having classes before or afterward. At my childhood Protestant church, we all went to Sunday school (adults, too), and then attended the main church service together afterward. It did foster learning, as well as getting to know others.

In the Catholic Church, however, home of the early exodus and parking lot derby, I would be surprised if many would attend (I fear some might go to Sunday school in lieu of Mass). The pastor would have to make clear the differences. One other concern would be the orthodoxy of the instructors, which would likely vary from parish to parish.

Depending on what your parish offers, you might try Bible studies, more advanced faith formation classes, volunteering for various ministries, and small church communities. I also find reading This Rock magazine and other orthodox publications informative.
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  #15  
Old Jun 13, '09, 11:23 pm
Proxi Proxi is offline
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Default Re: Age appropriate sunday school in the Catholic Church?

I have been having this same problem in the Catholic Church. I am marrying a Catholic, and I am totally willing to raise my children in the Church, but I want it to be an experience that leads them to the Lord, rather than away from Him. I was raised Catholic until I was about 10, and although there was catechism at our Church, I found it very much like school. There were no youth groups, and nothing during the Mass for us except some coloring sheets that were supposed to be educational.

When I was around 16 I started taking my niece to an Evangelical Christian church in our town. When we first started going she was 3 and we went until I left for university so when she was around 5... and she LOVED Church. I would go over to my sisters house and there would be guests there and I would say, "Wanna go to Church with me tomorrow?" and she would always be super excited. She would sometimes stay in the service with me, but most of the time she went to the Sunday School program, that was NOTHING like school.

The thing is, she was learning more about God and a love for Him than I ever did sitting in a Mass as a child. She was totally welcome in the adult service (so there goes the theory Sunday School was created for child-haters), she just prefered the Sunday School services and learned more there about Christianity.

I want to raise my children in the Catholic Church, but I want it to be a positive experience. I want it to be fun. I want them to think of Church as a place where they are truly meeting the Trinity, rather then being bored. If that means having a Sunday School and youth groups, I 100% support it. I want to start one in my Church, but I am not sure how successful a non-Catholic would be at doing so.
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