Parents can nurture youths' faith

May 27, 2013

Parents wish their children are active in their parishes and have a comfortable prayer life with God, several parents said at a recent workshop in Prince Albert, Sask.

The parents also hope their children serve in their parishes and give direction to young people in their own parishes.

They were responding to the discussion question, "What would you like the Catholic faith to be about for your children in the next 10 or 15 years?"

Presenter Dan Moynihan, youth ministry specialist for the Diocese of London, Ont., told the group a recent study found most young people follow the faith of their parents, which is typically very conventional.


"The vast majority of teens are not alienated or rebellious, most are quite content to follow in their parents' footsteps."

The Strong Catholic Families, Strong Catholic Youth program began as a research study in the United States on 3,300 youth and their insights, challenges and reflections on religion.

During the study, teens were asked: If they could change something about family dynamics, what would they choose?

A huge response pointed to the need to be closer to their parents. After being asked why they were not, the youth stated they were unsure how to achieve a close relationship.

Moynihan said his role is to assist parishes, schools and families in their efforts to draw young people into meaningful relationships with Jesus and the Church.

Parish youth groups, retreats, mission trips and Sunday Mass are all key components in passing faith onto teens, he said.


Parents also matter a great deal in the faith development of their children, he said. But the task of passing on the faith is not easy.

Parents' commitment to their children is a strong witness that they believe this gift must be passed on to them.

According to Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2221), the role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.