I have a student in my eighth grade religious education class. She is there very week and I also had her in seventh grade. Whenever I ask my class who went to Mass last Sunday I notice that she never raises her hand. She is very smart, pays attention and does very well on written assignments. So I asked her why she never attends Mass and she says that her parents won’t take her. It boggles my mind and I’m not sure what, if any, steps I should take. Any suggestions?
This is something that is happening at my church as well. The CCD director has mentioned it to me many times. I’d suggest having a talk with the parents because it seems that they are not taking their own religion seriously. It makes me wonder why they bother sending their child to CCD. The girl is in 8th grade, so is she getting confirmed this year? It seems that sometimes parents will just send a child through the classes for the sacraments only. I’m not sure if this a is a “status” thing or what.
You should definitely speak to the parents. Or perhaps the pastor and he can speak to them?
I was told we were not allowed to directly ask a child if they went to mass because doing so would force them to reveal their conscience. Or something to that effect. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable on the subject can explain that better.
I would not single the student out, but instead stress in class that even though they may be too young to drive, etc. They still have an obligation to at least attempt to go to mass on Sunday. This means 1) asking their parents to take them each week, 2) trying to find a ride 3) public transportation, etc. Remind them not to be defiant to their parents, but simply try to find a way to get to mass. A good rule of thumb is to treat it as if it were a fun sleepover at a friend’s house. You could also mention that they are old enough to make their own decisions, and they can start to take responsibility. If you show how going to mass adult and mature, they’ll be more interested.
Just some thoughts to consider, hope that helps!
I wanted to bang my head against the wall the year I taught grade 4 catechism. In the program we were teaching a lot of what we did linked to Mass. Whenever I said “You know, during Mass when we…” and invariably half the students would say “Miss, we don’t go to Mass.” Now, our classes ran from 11 am to noon on Sunday morning, immediately after Mass. They were either too lazy to get up at 9 to make it to 10 a.m. Mass or they had no interest in Mass at all.
It boggles my mind that parents will send their children to CCD or PSR class but not take them to Mass. What are they thinking?
I think a lot of the situation is that parents want to please their parents.
What is scarier to me (7th grade CCD) is that pastors will recommend that these children, who have not been participating in the sacramental life of the parish, be confirmed at the end of 8th grade.
That’s the part I don’t get.
I think they do that in the hope that the graces obtained will help them become better Catholics. That’s why they should be confirmed earlier, rather than later.
The parents are thinking that they want their child exposed to church without any effort on their own part. The dump the the kid off at PSR for a couple of hours once a week, and their job is done. It wouldn’t work to send the child to church because people would ask why they aren’t there too. So PSR is it.
Can you make going to Mass part of class, i.e., class starts at 9:45 and ends at 12 noon.
I see plently of parents in CCD going to Mass with their children at the Catholic Church I attend.
How do I know them? Because they see me every two weeks at the school they attend.
And they see me at Mass while they are there with their parents.
I gave up teaching religion classes long ago. As far as classes go, the only thing that exists in my parish is sacramental preparation. There is no other religion class taught.
Yeah!, everyone wear your pajamas and fuzzy slippers to Mass,…yes!, even you adults.
However I hope noone sleeps in the nude. Quick get him a blanket to hide his shamefulness. (Genesis pun)
Thats how one of my friends was. (er…the not going to Mass part). She had to ask her parents to take her to Mass. Her parents would go run errands and stuff. She always saw the neighbors with their Bibles all the time and asked them about it. (Her neighbors were Protestants or some other Sola Scriptura denomination). She then had her parents take her and all. Thats how my friend found religion. She started out as Baptist or Prostestant, but now she’s non-denom.
But its always odd when kids have to ask the PARENTS to take them. Usually the other way around. At least when I grew up.
Thank you all for your replies. This has always boggled my mind. This young lady never attends Mass but most of my classes (7th, 8th and confirmation) do not go regularly. I don’t know if there is a solution but I might talk to her parents just to give them insight on the importance of Mass attendance. I don’t know. I just thought that I would throw it out there. Thank you all again and God bless… teachccd
It’s really difficult to convince people of Mass’s importance. Our pastor was telling me of the response he gets from young couples he meets when they request baptism for their child. Often when he reminds them of the importance of Mass, which 95% of them don’t attend, he’ll hear comments like “My grandmother goes all the time, and gives to the Church” as if Mass were something one could do by proxy. At that time he also faces either rolled eyes or eyes that are unable to meet his.
Mass is like water or food, just in the spiritual way. I try to attend mass daily (not been more than 4x this week). Try to talk to the parents and explain them importance of mass attending, the spiritual growth and the benefits the Lords grace always provides and gives.
Not sure what your time constraints are, but why not sponsor group attendence with a catechism study for a half hour or so afterwards? Or just a group attendence? Or kind of ask the other students which Mass they went to so that maybe this kid can attend with a friend’s family?
The kid’s in 8th grade, why can’t she take herself to Mass? When I was in grammar school, not sure how far back it was, but I know for sure 7th and 8th grade, I was taking myself to Mass. My parents didn’t go to Mass then, but knew it was important to make sure I had a good Catholic education and attend Mass. At the time, both my parents were working full time, and Mom was too exhausted to go to Mass. Yeah, I know, it’s easier to judge someone else in their shoes and not one’s own :rolleyes: but that’s the way it was then for her. However, original question is why can’t she take herself to Mass? She’s 13.
There was, and I believe there is a regulation, that no infants can be baptized, unless there is reasonable hope, that they will be raised as Catholics. The same rule probably would be useful for confirmation too. Those who get more, have more.
Psychologically, if the later in their life want to practice their religion, and explicit teaching (RCIA) is useful. The confirmation w/o being practicing excluded this later possibility.
Once baptized they have an obligation to be confirmed. It’s not about being great Catholics, it’s about completing baptism and receiving the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Why punish a child whose parents don’t practice by withholding graces? Depending on the situation the child may not be culpable – distance, the lack of public transportation, etc. could be reasons the child cannot attend Mass unless the parents go.
Furthermore, in today’s world I would be hesitant to send a 13 year old girl off on her own to get herself somewhere for safety reasons. Maybe in a smaller community there’s less to worry about, but some of these cities are not safe places for unaccompanied youth.
I don’t believe that. Parents just overreact to things that have always been there.
When a 13 year old girl was murdered in our community 50 years ago, parents didn’t suddenly stop their daughters from going anywhere. Sure, perhaps in the beginning before the killer was caught, but then life went on as usual.
When a 7 year old girl who was walking to school got in with a stranger and only saved from God-only-knows-what by a travelling salesman who noticed that she seemed reluctant to get in and followed the first vehicle into the woods, parents didn’t stop their kids from walking to school along the main highway through the province, they simply doubled the warnings about getting in with strangers.
30 years later my cousin is walking her 13 year old son to school two blocks away in a residential area. :shrug: