Keeping the Faith
Keeping the Faith
A study released early this year reported that the Catholic population of the United States is growing at the same rate of the general population. If not to go forward is to go backward, holding your own is not great news. But the study had much worse news: More U.S. Catholics are leaving the faith than ever before – and more than any other Christian denomination. So how, in the present environment, can Catholic parents raise their children to love the Catholic faith? FORMED can help. Ken Hensley was a Protestant minister for eleven years before resigning his pastorate to enter the Catholic Church. He now is part of The Coming Home Network International, which helps others discover the Catholic faith. In an audio talk on FORMED called How To Keep Your Kids Catholic, Hensley offers advice to Catholic parents based on his own experience, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and centuries of Catholic spiritual wisdom. In a little more than forty minutes he outlines six essential steps to establishing a strong and enduring faith in young people. One of the steps, as you might expect, is educating children in the faith but, important as that is, it’s not the first step. In fact, it’s number five.
Instilling the Faith
How can a parent (or grandparent) arouse interest in young children about the faith? With great Bible stories written in a way that captivates and enchants young minds. British author Amy Steedman was such a writer. She wrote early in the last century, and one of her masterworks, The Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories, has been reprinted by Sophia Institute Press and is available on FORMED. Here are the opening lines of “The Beautiful World,” a story, based on Genesis, of the beginning of the world and the first story in the book:
When night comes down and everything is dark and black, we sometimes are a little afraid, for we cannot see all the pleasant things around us, and it makes us feel lonely to be in the dark. The very first thing of all we want is light. So it was when God made the world that the very first thing He did was to make the light….
What child, after that beginning wouldn’t want to hear the rest of the story? The Read-Aloud Book has three-dozen such stories, some from the Old Testament and some from the New. It tells of Noah and Moses and of the coming of the Savior and the miracles He performed, as well as of the Apostles who carried the Good News to the ends of the Earth. “Now is the time,” says FORMED, “to read Amy Steedman’s remarkable Bible stories to your child, and to plant in their souls these sweet seeds of truth and beauty.” As with all books on FORMED, The Read-Aloud Book is free to download.