A priest or teacher can talk 'til he's blue in the face, but a
we never seem to learn what it means to be Catholic unless we live our faith at home. So
how is that done? Keep reading!
You've already got a fantastic start. If you're doing the basics and
celebrating each liturgical season, you are well on your way. If your family
attends a Catholic school or regular parish religious education classes,
even better! Your family still
needs planned and guided home instruction. Again, we're here to help! Follow
- Sign up for our free e-newsletter
- Gather basic materials
- Prepare for guided learning
- Review the learning objectives
- Get started!
We have a few more suggestions, of course, which may also help your
Every Catholic should have an understanding of scripture as God's inspired
word, should know basic Catholic doctrine, and should receive sacraments
and know why they are important in our lives. We should understand just how
important our family, our parish, and our local and global community are
to our lifetime faith journey, and, in turn, give service to that community. We
also need to understand there are many forms of prayer, try various forms, and
experience how they can deepen our personal relationship with God.
Our e-newsletter is designed to help you do all the above! We'll send weekly
guides which will lead you through family study of scripture, Catholic doctrine,
varied forms of prayer, and plenty of suggestions for living a Catholic life.
- An inquisitive mind
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church
- A Catholic Bible
- Patience - especially if your kids not used to home catechism. Okay,
patience is useful even if they are used to home catechism!
This step simply means you need to look over the catechism and
the Bible. Don't be intimidated! They are meant to help you live a life closer
to God. Open them up. Take a look at the cover page. There is even a table of
contents. The catechism has an index in the back. A Bible may or may not have an
index, depending on the printer. Our kids love Bibles which have lots of
colorful pictures. Just get to know these wonderful books. You'll never regret
This is a wonderful book which tells you anything and
everything you ever wanted to know about the Catholic Church. After Vatican II
the old Baltimore Catechism was no longer considered useful for teaching the
Catholic faith. It focused on the memorization of questions and answers, rather
than the intelligent questioning of thinking human beings. Our current catechism
gives a thorough explanation of our faith. It may look overwhelming; after all,
it was written by some of the greatest thinkers of modern Catholicism. However,
if you take it little by little, it is a very useable and thought-provoking
It is important to be aware of the differences between Catholic
and Protestant Bibles.
Number of books - Catholic Bibles have 46 books in the
Old Testament; Protestant Bibles have 39 books in the Old Testament. Both
Catholics and Protestants use 27 books in the New Testament. The Catholic canon
(the books included in the Catholic Bible) was based on the Septuagint, the
Greek translation of the scriptures which had been used since 200 B.C. The
Protestant New Testament is the same as the Catholic New Testament. The
Protestant Old Testament is the same as the Hebrew canon. Around 100 A.D. Jewish
scholars chose the books they wanted to include in their Bible. This occurred
after the Jews refused to allow Christian worship in the synagogues, and after
the complete destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Roman army. The Jews
decided only books which had never been written in Greek would be allowed in
their canon. Although the Christian scriptures remained unchanged for over 1200
years, the leaders of the Reformation decided to reject the Christian canon and
accept the Hebrew canon. Interestingly, in modern times Jews have formally
thanked Catholics for protecting an important part of their history, that which
is contained in the rejected books.
The Catholic Old Testament includes the following books which are not included
in the Hebrew and Protestant scriptures:
||Sections of Esther and Daniel
Interpretation of the Bible - Catholics believe the scriptures
are the inspired word of God. They are not dictated to an unthinking
"robot-human." They are written by an independent, thinking human
being who writes based on his or her own experience and culture.
Catholics recognize that the Bible is actually a little library.
There are many different types of books contained within its covers, including
myths, parables, histories, poems, songs, and even science fiction (scholars
call this apocalyptic literature). Each book needs to be interpreted based on
the type of writing it contains. We interpret myths differently than we
interpret histories, for example.
Scripture and science - Because Catholics are not literal
interpreters of scripture, we have no problem with science as long as there is a
fundamental respect of basic moral criteria. For example,
Catholics can accept the theory of evolution because we also accept the truths
inherent in the Genesis stories, that God created everything and made it good.
We can embrace both science and faith; it is not an either/or situation.
If you are starting to feel worried, please stop! It's okay if
you have not had much catechizing. You can learn with you children, and it
can be a fantastic, spiritual experience. To get comfortable looking through the
Bible, try this Bible word search.
It's a great ice breaker! (Click
here for the answer key)
It is important that you know your goals for religious
education. Of course you would like your family to develop a strong faith in
God, but here are a few more specific goals which our newsletter attempts to
Your family will understand that scripture is the inspired Word
of God and tells us the story of God's love for us.
Your family will know the basic teachings of the Catholic Church
and use them in your daily lives
Your family will understand the grace and power of the
sacraments, especially the Eucharist, which binds our faith community
Your family will appreciate the role of our faith community in
their faith journey
Your family will understand the need to serve others in your
Your family will experience a variety of prayer forms, and
appreciate how they can be used to deepen your personal relationship with God
Are you ready? Grab your Bible and your Catechism and let's go! Don't
forget to sign up for our newsletter - it
will give you week by week suggestions for living a Catholic life!
Now don't be overwhelmed by this list. Start with one item and let it
become habit. Experiment with new ones as you and your family feel ready. It
took us quite a while to get comfortable publicly living our faith. However,
doing so has made an incredible difference in our lives. The joy and peace
we experience are amazing.
- Prepare for Sunday Mass by reviewing the scripture readings
- Participate in our sacraments - you'll feel God's grace fill you as
you participate in these signs of God's love.
- Read the Bible regularly. We discuss one Gospel reading and one
non-gospel reading each week. Usually we do this over dinner, but not as
part of family night. Some amazing conversations and good lessons come
from these discussions.
- Regularly celebrate the feast days of saints - this can be simply
kitchen candle, or going all out with a party, or both!
- Choose your favorites among Catholicism's many
devotions and practice them with your family.
- Volunteer to participate in your parish ministries.
- Learn about Catholic doctrine. Just pick up the Catechism of the
Catholic Church, open it up, and start reading a small section. The
more you do this, the more you'll understand the beauty and wisdom of our