Have you ever considered being a teacher in the Parish School of Religion? It will be one of the most fulfilling volunteer activities you might spend one hour a week doing. It is hard to believe that I began over twenty years ago; Fr. Michael Moroney was pastor and Ms. Kathy Screen was Director of Religious Education. Sometimes I had classes of only two or three students, and sometimes 15. Every class was different, just as every child is different, but they all taught me so much about my faith. That is right – they taught me.
Faith is something that is so personal that you can get to know your students very well, even though you only meet once a week. Some of them know a lot about our Catholic religion, and some of them know very little. Learning about the Bible and how to use it, opens their eyes to the wonderful stories it contains; some they have heard before, and some they can’t believe are in a religious book! To learn that the heroes in the Bible were not perfect people, but people just like us, opens their eyes to knowing that God wants all of us to be His heroes. Some of those Bible stories help us to remember what happens when people don’t do what God wants them to do, but it also shows the lengths He will go to rescue His people when they are in trouble!
If you can remember the old TV show “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” then you can only imagine some of the discussions we have had about why certain things are sinful when people all over are doing them. The world we live in has warped our values into thinking if it is on TV and in the movies, it must be normal and okay. Not only learning the Ten Commandments but breaking them down into all the “sub-topics” that fall under those commandments, e.g. hitting your brother or sister, sassing your mom, cheating on a test, and on and on, helps them relate sins to everyday life. They bring up things I have never thought about.
The first year that I taught, the book opened with a prayer: “Jesus, the Good Shepherd, watch over me today. Help me follow where You lead and never go astray.” I have taught it to every class. Each year I have tried to emphasize that we are just like those dumb sheep that wander off and get into all manner of trouble, and yet God continues to seek us out and bring us back into the safety of His arms. Talking to them about how much God loves us and wants us to be happy with Him, has made me focus on my own relationship with God. Sharing your faith makes it grow much stronger. Jesus loves me, yes I know!
For information on how you can join our Parish School of Religion team, please contact Director of Religious Education, Ms. Jessica Milburn at 926-1883 or firstname.lastname@example.org.