BY VIRGINIA RYAN
Sometimes a good idea just pops into your email box unexpectedly. On Monday morning I received an email titled A Catholic Kit.
What is a Catholic Kit?
Frank Cohen, principal of St John’s Catholic primary school in Woy Woy decided that he could no longer hear the plea of his young parents: “How can we help our children in Religious Education?”
I had to do something. “We devised our own Catholic Kit which we send home to all families to help them connect to their Catholic faith. It is my observation that many of the families now are sending their kids to a Catholic school and they themselves (parents) have not been churched.”
The truth is that many parents come into Catholic primary schools with a real desire to do the very best by their children; their hearts are full of faith but they find it difficult to discuss it with their children. They have often lost the language to chat with their children about God. Their children come home from school with lots of questions and parents are not sure of the answers when it comes to Religious Education.
I asked Frank what he first noticed this need. He replied, “ It has always struck me at interview enrolment time that young parents, who are baptised Catholics, want to articulate what they desire for their children’s spiritual development but find it hard to know how to express it. Our Catholic Kit is an attempt to join the dots.”
With the support of the School Board Frank approached his competent and highly experienced REC (Religious Education Coordinator) MaryAnne Diorio who knew exactly what was need and compiled the resource kit. It contains:
- Liturgical wheel calendar and explanation of colours and seasons
- Our school prayer and song
- A sense of sacrament: Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist & Confirmation
- List of significant dates and explanations
- Our obligations and responsibilities as Catholics
- Rosary Beads and rosary card
- A book mark
- List of useful websites and connection to the Faith Project
MaryAnne said , “All families receive this kit at Easter time. In addition to this each kindergarten child was presented with a wooden crucifix at our opening assembly made by the local Men shed people. It’s also our intention to develop a one page laminated parent companion for each of the RE units to go home to each family. We want parents to know what is happening in RE throughout the year.”
Children are often the catalyst for changing parents in ways hey never imagined. Frank commented, ‘when the young children join our Catholic primary school it is often a pivotal point in the spiritual lives of parents. They want to help their children be kind and happy people and they want them to be active members of the Catholic parish community: they’ re often not sure how to do this. This is one way we are building the bridge and skilling parents in a contemporary religious literacy.”
This is a really good idea.