Raising Catholic Kids

Raising Catholic Kids

My recent post on My Cup of Tea reminded me of a recent conversation with my sister on the subject of Catholic parenting. She had told me about a friend who is discerning a vocation to marriage. With a specific young man. She’s a recent convert and they are both pretty sure that marriage is where they are headed, but they both have one big concern: how do we raise good Catholic kids when neither of us had a good Catholic upbringing and both of us want to avoid recreating the environment in which we grew up (at least that’s what I got out of what my sister told me).

Let’s face it parenting is a daunting proposition. But even more so when you are conscious that you don’t have any good models of good family life to emulate. Then it really seems like an uphill battle.

So my sister asks what kind of advice can she give them.

My first thought was that they should seek out Catholic families, join a parish and make friends, though I know from experience that’s easier said than done. Still, there are good families out there and being part of a parish in which you see plenty of families would be a good idea.

I know that I have been very blessed by the many wonderful families I know, especially Dom’s brothers and sister and their families. After my own parents, they have been the greatest influence providing inspirational role models. I felt so much more confident going into my pregnancy having my sisters-in-law there to support, encourage and advise me. I’ve also been encouraged and supported by my married friends who have ventured down the road to parenthood before me.

My second though of course was that there must be some good books out there. And it struck me that many of the Catholic homeschooling books I’ve been reading would also serve for this purpose. Even if she isn’t interested in homeschooling, most of them go far beyond academics and address the more fundamental questions about faith and family. At the root of Catholic homeschooling philosophy is the conviction that the goal of homeschooling, in fact the goal of parenting in general, is to get one’s kids to heaven. Homeschooling is merely a means to that end. Thus these books contain much advice that is not specifically about schooling and more about Catholic parenting.

So I recommended that her friend peruse some of the books that I’ve highlighted in my blog, looking at those with a specifically Catholic focus. I would add now Danielle Bean’s book. And I would also add that there are some great Catholic blogs out there.

And now that I think about it I skipped right over the first thing I should have said, which is that the model for a Catholic family should always be the Holy Family. That’s fundamental.

So what other books are out there on Catholic parenting? If you know of any good titles, please share. 

Update: I just realized I hadn’t actually posted this! oops.

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  • St. John of the Cross tells us why Christ moves away and we must search for him.  St. John calls it a dark night. We can not comprehend God and unfortunately we start decideing who God is, making God in our image.  So God withdraws and we must seek him in faith which is dark to our understanding.  We must open ourselves to experience God as he reveals himself to us.  We can not find him in theology or our made up understanding.  We can only find him in “nada” nothing, emptyness, in faith.

  • Thanks for all that! Sorry it took me so long to read it.  I was amazed by those readings yesterday too, and then the thing about Israel—I had not been looking at the missal because Caleb was in my lap, so I dug it out to see if the pope had come up with special readings in honor of the World Day of Prayer.  But no.  God was responsible for the timing regarding the reading on Israel’s eventual security.  Truly amazing. 

    As for the rest of it, I am reminding myself that after all those years of Cardinal Mahony, God has plopped my family into two great parishes, both in Orlando and at our summer place in the boondocks of North Carolina, with very orthodox priests.  One is in his late 60s and one in his late 20s, both are rare finds in this day and age.  I have to stop whining long enough to be thankful for them!

    And I’m thankful for you too, Melanie.

  • You’re welcome. I’m my thoughts could be of some use.

    I know how easy it is to fall into whining and forget to be thankful. Every Sunday I set out for mass resolving not to be distracted by the terrible music, people in skimpy clothes, screaming children whose parents don’t control them and all the other things that pull me away from my focus on God. Most of the time I still walk out of mass with at least one complaint on my lips. Particularly with the music.

    We have a great pastor, though. I’m not sure why he can’t seem to do anything about the music. Part of it is I know he’s overwhelmed. Sometimes I know you need to pick your battles. Getting a better music minister would mean firing the one we have and finding someone else who would presumably cost more money.

    The sad thing is when he picks the songs for daily mass, they’re universally good songs that everyone can sing. I always ask myself: why can’t we sing this on Sunday?

    I try to remind myself of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s admonition to her sisters when they were complaining about a bad homily and she reminded them that they had received Christ himself. That is what’s important. While it is very sad that we are inflicted with bad music, poor liturgy and all the rest, I know that things will eventually get better. Meanwhile we must fight the good fight and not let ourselves get dispirited when things don’t improve as fast as we’d like them to.