On any given week, only 20-30% of my church school students go to Mass. Of those, one is always my daughter, so that means only one or two other children go.
Kind of staggering, no?
Now, ours is not a church that tracks such things, actually. And I have never asked them. Honestly… they’re six. They can’t drive themselves. I don’t want to heap guilt on their little heads.
But first graders are so open. And honest. They look at me with wide eyes when I teach them about the Eucharist and say, “I can’t remember when we went to church… my mom and dad say it’s ’cause we’re always so busy.”
Truly, even if they didn’t tell me (and, make no mistake, they do), I would have my suspicions. There are things that the “regular Mass goers” simply have an easier time with. Learning the “Our Father”, for example. Since those children who go to Mass say the prayer every single week– even if they never hear it said at home– they have an advantage.
So, anyway, I know you don’t go to church. And here’s what I really, really want YOU to know…
I’m so glad your children are here.
Thank you for choosing to enroll your child in faith formation classes.
The fact that you’ve done so reveals your desire to see your children have a relationship with Jesus. And, to me, that means that you’re glad that YOU do. I’m so glad that you’re allowing your children to share in that joy.
That you took the time to sign him up and make arrangements to pick him up at 5:30 every other Tuesday afternoon shows that this is a priority. Your actions reveal what you value– and I am so grateful that you have deemed this worth the effort.
I hear through the grapevine about your happiness with something your child learned in my class. And that makes my heart swell. I pore over every kind word you penned in my Christmas card (and thank you for the Dunkin Donuts gift certificates, by the way) and I am so honored to have a role in your child’s faith journey.
Don’t get me wrong– I wish you went to church a little more often. If you actually asked me, I would tell you that the number one thing I believe my parents did to establish my faith was to take us to Mass EVERY single week. Is it a requirement of a strong faith? Of course not. But, as a child, it spoke volumes to me.
I would love to see you there. To wave. To make a cross on your little one’s forehead, just like I do in class. The boys– and they are mostly boys– all act put out by it. Yet they wait their turn and balk if I forget them. They are precious… but you already know that.
Yes, it would be wonderful for your kids to get to go to Mass more often. You, too, really.
But that’s not what this is about. Because, really, whether you go to Mass every week, once a month, or only at Christmas, I desperately want you to know…
Every time they run off the bus, up the hill, and into my classroom, I am SO glad to see your children. And I have YOU to thank for their being there.