Magazine article The Christian Century

Faith and the Family

Magazine article The Christian Century

Faith and the Family

Article excerpt

Thomas Walters, a Catholic religious educator, figures that a Catholic child will spend 390 hours in parish religious education, from kindergarten through grade 12. A good chunk of time, you say, for passing on the faith? Hardly, especially when compared to the 11,000 hours spent in public school education during the same time or the estimated 15,000 hours children spend watching TV by the time they are 18. Of course, there are other places where the faith is transmitted, including catechesis programs, church camps and the home. Parish-resourced family-centered religious education programs, says Peter Steinfels, "form their children's faith not by formal lessons but by the art and symbolism in the home; by children's books, bedtime prayers and entertainment; by family rituals at mealtimes, on holy days, saints' days, or in the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent; by service to others carried out together by parents and offspring; by family conversations about religious questions; by deliberate exposure to the motives and morals involved in adults' everyday working lives. …

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