First and best teachers in faith? Parent-led preparation for the sacraments

Mark Nash and David Wills from the Centre for Catholic Formation in the Archdiocese of Southwark reflect on how parishes can support parents in teaching the Catholic faith to their children.

When parents bring their children to baptism, they are asked if they are willing to accept the responsibility of training them in the practice of the faith, and receive a blessing that they be the best of teachers in the ways of faith in all that they say and do. Canon Law insists:

Since they have given life to their children, parents have a most grave obligation and possess the right to educate them ... Parents above others are obliged to form their children by word and example in faith and in the practice of Christian life.1

However, in recent generations, pastoral practice has tended to pay lip service to this, instead asking of parents that they effectively pass over the primary work of the catechesis and evangelisation of their children to parish catechists, Catholic teachers and youth workers.

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