This Sunday our religious education program begins again for grades 1 through 8. Our Confirmation candidates will receive the sacrament next Thursday evening. In all, over 250 young people will be engaged in religious activities in the next week and beyond on our campus.
In addition to the spiritual and educational formation our programs provide, what can we offer these young people? How can we prepare them for dealing with the world around them? How can we equip them to deal with the dissonance they will experience when they realize that much of the world, and unfortunately the church, belies what we have taught them?
In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus says, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” If we take the words of Jesus seriously, we must do what we can to create an environment to which our children will want to return once they have been confirmed; an environment that is welcoming and inclusive; one that represents a place of refuge and refreshment as well as challenge. But how can we do this? Perhaps a clue can be found in the palpable sense of Christian community that is a hallmark of St. A’s… perhaps by trying to live as Jesus would have us live, we might effectively model a different way of living, of being church, that will resonate in our children’s lives (and in our own!) and help them build a resilience that will serve them well in the future.