I feel like I dont know about in other peoples towns but in my town definetly it seems like kids go through the whole CCD, process and then when they reach highschool after conformation it seems as though not all but alot of kids start worrying about their own personal desires and pretty much metaphorically speaking say I dont care about the church about mass and about other things church related. Now how could something like this be slowed down? I think that it should be done through CCD, doing a better job at making the kids enjoy church when they are young and also when they are teenagers. The big thing though is teaching them about sins and how they affect your relationship with God. Because I can defenitly tell you that when I was in CCD we did not talk about or at least id dont remember us talking about mortal or sin or the various dogmas it was for the most part a history lesson. On Jesus Christ and his apostles and what he did. I think kids might have found this boring. So maybe we could have played somesort of trivia type of game to make learning this stuff more interesting, and also I think that its great that parents volunteer but I think parishes should think about getting qualifies teachers in theology to avoid teaching wrong information.
Being Byzantine Catholic, I don’t know anything about CCD, but I’m guessing the problems leading to kids leaving after confirmation, start at home, not necessarily with CCD. [My children receive the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Chrismation, and the Eucharist as infants). They attend catechism at our parish before Divine Liturgy, but it isn’t linked to a sacramental endpoint as CCD generally seems to be.]
So you can make CCD more fun, you can play games, etc., but if the parents aren’t setting the example at home daily, especially the father, then most of the time, there is only so much that an educational program can accomplish. The catechist only has an hour or so a week. The kids are being exposed to constant conflicting messages from many sources - T.V., internet, phones, teachers at school, peers, etc. That hour is probably going to get lost in the noise if there isn’t a strong example set at home.
In general, the families I know, Byzantine or Roman Catholic, where the majority of their children have continued to live a life focussed on Christ, are the ones that have made daily prayer as a family a priority, and that do their best to instruct their children in the faith at home, either as discussions at dinner or at other times. The families I know where most of the children left the church are ones where the parents have not been particularly involved on a daily basis. Sure, they made it to Mass most Sundays, but that was about it. (These are my observations.)
I’ve heard from a few Roman Catholic, “The family that prays the Rosary together, stays together.” We don’t pray the Rosary because it isn’t part of our tradition, but we pray together almost every morning and evening as a family, five to ten minutes. The habit of daily prayer has been long established. This is the most important daily witness to the faith we give them: prayer, turning ourselves to God to glorify Him, to ask forgiveness and offer penance, etc. The children know that their parents love and fear the Lord. They know that their parents want to go to heaven and that they fear hell.
But it doesn’t end with parents praying with the children daily, but their parents, must teach them, not as a supporting role to their catechism class (or CCD), but as their primary teachers of the faith. You mention the failure to teach about sin in CCD when you were enrolled. Parents need to be teaching their children about sin both by example in trying to live a Christian life, by going to confession and by encouraging their kids to go, and finally by instruction. (There are lots of books parents can use to learn the faith if they feel like they don’t know enough.) I am teaching my children, with lots of discussion, about living a life in Christ. It takes time, it takes recognizing that it is more important than watching more T.V., YouTube videos, reading novels, playing Angry Birds, etc. Then it takes doing something, which I know is even harder. (There are days that mindlessly watching T.V. sounds better and sometimes that even wins out because exhaustion wins.)
I wouldn’t necessarily look for teachers who are “qualified teachers in theology”, but someone who knows their faith and who lives a life of prayer. Someone who is trying to live a life in Christ. People followed monks into the desert not because they were “qualified theologians”, but they knew their faith and they lived a life of prayer; they lived holy lives. (Read some of the Desert Fathers. By our standards today, they are not theologians, but even now, their sayings and writing are very edifying to say the least.) Someone who has studied theology, but doesn’t pray or leads a life on the fringes of the Church, living in a sinful state in opposition to church teachings, is not a person I would trust to be involved in the education of my children no matter how well versed they are in theology.
In short, to answer the question about how to slow down the attrition of kids, in my opinion it probably all gets down to parents. I don’t know if there is anything that can be done in a CCD program to fix that.
Christ is Risen!
Hospodi pomilui is spot on. It comes down to the parents much more than the CCD program.
A CCD teacher has the kids for one hour a week, 30 times a year. That’s 30 hours a year out of 8,760 (and that’s optimistically assuming that the kids arrive promptly and give their full attention for the whole hour and that they don’t miss class at all for inclement weather, illness, etc.). That is 0.003% of their time annually. The average kid spends more time than that in front of a screen every five days.
If the parents are not reinforcing what kids are learning in class (or worse yet, are actually undermining Catholic teaching), it’s difficult to expect a revamped CCD program to be the cure-all.
Even if the catechist is a living saint, an astute theologian, and a charismatic presenter all wrapped into one, it’s hard to fight against the tsunami of anti-Catholic cultural influence if the parents are completely disconnected.
That’s why the Church’s catechetical documents hold out the faith formation of adults as the model. If parents are well formed, they will conscientiously ensure that their children are well formed. If they follow the stop (at the parish curb), drop (off their kids with the “experts”), and roll (away in their car) approach to passing on the faith, their children are not likely to become engaged.
Right. Parents who leave the heavy lifting to catechists in Faith Formation (we don’t call it CCD anymore, LOL) have already lost the battle.
Those who think it’s too much fro their kids, but yet will sign them up fro 4-5 extracurriculars a week, and counting, including rock climbing and competitive cheering all int he name of “potential scholarships” are very short-sighted indeed.
Too much fun and entertainment in classes like these can send mixed signals, IMO. I think, at that age, I could have seen through the schtick, and it would have left me wondering why something that was beautiful on its own had to be covered in so much proverbial lipstick.
In fact, that’s how I think I saw a lot of the Protestant “teen-friendly” stuff. I just thought it was dorky.
As others have alluded to, if the home-life isn’t Christ-centered, if the parents haven’t taught their children to pray, if Junior doesn’t love Jesus … you’re building things on a foundation of sand.
Are you part of the education program of your church?
Even if you don’t feel qualified to teach, all youth programs need help.
Are you able to donate money to the youth program to help pay qualified teachers?
I was w volunteer CCD teacher this year. And in our parish we aren’t paid either. I think two things are wrong. Parents aren’t living the faith let alone teaching it. I had a lot of 12 year old kids that STILL didn’t their prayers despite reciting them in class and having books with them in. The First Communion kids were scattered through the the classes. I had six of them. The parents had to attend one meeting a month, and they were supposed to teach their kids, but some never showed up or some didn’t bother. As a result, the kids had to take a monthly test, and I could tell by their answers they didn’t know basic things. So I really tried to teach them dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption, Jesus passion and Ressurection as well as drilling them how to go to Confession and emphasizing again and again what the Eucharist is and backing these things up with the Bible. The books are still too simplistic, and don’t emphasize that the Mass is an unbloody Sacrifice, so lots of kids think it should be entertainment and are bored. I don’t know how other parishes operate, but most of the teachers were women in ours. I definitely think there should be classes for parents at the same time learning what their children are, and also male teachers. And the parish priest needs to be visiting these classes and asking them questions. Our class is finished, but I do t believe I’ll be teaching again unless there’s changes.
Frankly those things you were trying to teach them have little to do with First Eucharist and are way above a second grader’s head.
The books are NOT too simple. They’re 7 or 8 years old for the most part. We have adults who don’t quite “get” the Mass either you know. People spend their entire lives trying to wrap their heads around the “unbloody sacrifice”. We can’t assume children are up to high theological levels in our classes. We meet them where they are, not pry their brains open ans pour in material.
Having men wouldn’t be a bad idea, but please don’t assume they know more than the women who have always stepped up to the bat and are not appreciated.
Religious Ed is about developing a relationship with Christ.
The children in my class were 12 and 13, not 7 and 8, and half of them were first year CCD students. Teaching middle school or teenagers are way different, as they get bored and don’t pay attention. I think a man in this instance sometimes commands more respect. And no, they aren’t too young for The Immaculate Conception, as it was on the test and they needed to know it.
So you were teaching a Children’s RCIA (OCIC)?
How is that they got that far without the basics??
Well wouldn’t that save a lot of trouble??
utah, why do you think that the religious ed. teachers should be men? I’m not against the idea, but I don’t get it either.
Edit: just saw the answer in another post. Sorry.
While I get the thought behind making catechisis “fun” I think it can really backfire. If we set religious ed up as a type of entertainment then you have to “compete” against other types of entertainment that have far fewer strictures against it.
As others have said, the issues are generally at home. If the parents or families are not living their faith then making learning fun isn’t going to do much. One of the biggest issues we have is turning sacremental prep into a scholastic exercise. In other words many people see faith formation as something with a set time and a “reward” at the end of it. If you were to look at my parish religious ed enrollment, it swells in first and second grade and then drops precipitously from 3rd to 6th and then grows again for 7th and 8th grade, right before confirmation. Some argue to push confirmation back to 10th or 11th grade, but when it was later it just meant that 7th-9th grades were anemic enrollment numbers.
The only solution I can see is whole family catechisis. If we cannot get familes to live their faith then there is little hope to see kids retain their faith.
Some will argue that somethings are too complex for young people, but my 8 year old grasped basic concepts that kids in my confirmation class didn’t (like difference between mortal and venial sin). The 8 year old didn’t play games, do felt banners, etc. while the highschool kids were doing skits, group building activities, etc. Long and short is that making things “fun” does not work if the emphasis is on playing more than engraving the faith on their souls. You will never keep kids if their faith is held on by a thin vaneer of fun.
I dont know about yours but when I was going through the initiation classes before I was confirmed, the kids were in 9th and 10th grade I can tell you that there was a lack of caring they were basically there because they had to be there not because they wanted to. They would of much rather hung out with their friends or something than go to confirmation class. Which I can sort of understand but also this is also your faith it is something you generally have for the rest of your life and these programs are trying to build it.
Personally, I think it goes all the way back to marriage and baptism prep.
Until we actually teach parents what they are saying ‘yes’ to, and then give them the resources and support to do it, nothing will change.
As long as they see their job as simply ‘dropping off the kids’ and letting the Church take care of it, nothing will change.
Until we help people realize that the Faith is not just what’s in text books, and it’s something that should be a life long endeavor, nothing will change.
Read Fr. James Mallon’s Divine Renovation to see how a parish can break the mold.
No, but it would have been better if it was. All the kids had been baptized. Our parish is mostly Hispanic and they were enrolled in the English CCD but were more comfortable speaking Spanish, and their parents only spoke that language and I’m not bilingual. Our parish has two years. In the first its supposed to be basic and the 2nd year students make either their First Communion or Confirmation. My opinion is if they’re 12 and have never had CCD they should be in RCIA. In short it’s a mess, and I think it will be changed. They were great kids though, and am praying that they got something out of it. I also think they should have had a separate First Communion class.
Interesting…no church document has used the phrase CCD in 50 years.
Why in heaven’s name should the teachers be male? Not that there shouldn’t be male teachers, but the failure of religious education is not because the catechists are women. Both men and women should be volunteering to teach, in the same way they should be volunteering for other ministries in the Church.
My interpretation was not so much that the teachers need to be male but rather that we need male teachers. I think that’s a fair point. In my experience, the catechists in my area are overwhelmingly women. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, as they do a great job. It’s just good for the kids to also see male role models in the faith who aren’t priests (since priests and religious are often viewed separately from laity). I wouldn’t want to see all male catechists and no female catechists. It’s good for there to be both men and women models of Christian living for the children to be able to look up to.