A young Catholic school teacher calls into the Busted Halo Show in need of some fatherly advice from Father Dave. The caller teaches religion classes to students in the 8th grade, when they make their Confirmation, and he’s concerned that his students will fall away from the faith after they’ve been confirmed: “How do you convey staying with the faith to younger people, ’cause they seem to have a very, very hard time staying focused and learning these things about how they progress in their life with their faith?”
Father Dave recognizes this question as an age-old quandary in the Church, but offers “a few things with some track record of success. One is getting young people [in their early teens] involved [in Church life] in some way…Meaning, if students are always and everywhere just an observer and a bystander, if you will, and not a participant in the faith … then we’re much more likely to lose them.”
Father Dave says involvement can be as simple as a student distributing worksheets to the rest of the class, or as modern as assigning students to operate a social media page for their religion class.
Father Dave offers another suggestion, this time with the caveat that it may not yield immediate results: “This may just be in the realm of planting seeds … but you and other of us adults should be models of the faith.” By giving the students an example of what a normal Catholic adult looks like, they are more easily able to relate and to follow that path themselves. Brett throws in the suggestion of occasionally relating to the students on their terms — maybe by discussing movies or television shows that are of interest to them. One can always talk about everyday popular culture through the lens of our faith.
Lastly, Father Dave encourages the caller to be “on the lookout for … one or two [students] that show any inkling of interest … If you’ve got a class of 20 … during the couple of months that you have with them, you personally are not going to save all of them. One hundred percent of them are not all going to go, ‘Yes, we’re so into the Church now, we’re all going to become altar servers.’ But we trust that God will, at some point in all of their lives, let that seed of faith that you plant blossom and be fed by somebody else … But there could be one or two that you could directly affect. If you look around and 18 are spit-balling, but one or two are trying to pay attention … make sure you emphasize that relationship.” (Original Air 02-02-17)