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The most important thing I want to pass on to my child about the Catholic faith is ...

It's true.

Noreen Neitz

Gettysburg, Pa.

God is a God of love and forgiveness.

Gerry Czerak

Naperville, Ill.

It is a universal faith--all are welcome!

Madeleine Breen

Akron, Ohio

How amazing and liberating it feels to embrace the discipline and obedience of the Catholic faith.

Julie Zasada

Cedar Lake, Ind.

That to follow Christ means to actively engage in social justice. Catholicism is not just a private set of religious observations. We are a communal faith and we are called to protect the weakest among us--always.

Jeanie Lewis

Chicago, Ill.

That this is a faith built on hope and joy, centered on our direct encounter with Christ in the Eucharist. Does it get any better than that?

Name withheld

Cincinnati, Ohio

The religious issue or question I feel most unprepared to talk about with my kids is ...

The sex abuse scandal. My kids aren't old enough to have "the talk" yet.

Lori Anderson

Shoreline, Wash.

Reconciliation. I am not sure I believe in it, and since I don't go myself, it's hard to say she has to.

Stephanie Miller

St. Joseph, Mo.

None. Not that I'm all that knowledgable, I just don't feel like any topics are off limits or uncomfortable.

Melissa Wright

Plano, Texas

Standing strong with the teachings on current issues, such as the war in Iraq, abortion, and the death penalty. It is so easy to remain silent in the face of popular opinion and the very law of the land!

Donna Fisher

San Antonio, Texas

Why people who say they love Jesus don't always act that way.

Rebecca Dietz

Indiana, Pa.

Recently the issue of the "lost tomb" of Jesus. I was not prepared for questions from my 12-year-old. I didn't even know that the show was on. I have learned to be more aware of the news.

Kathy Brasseur

St. Petersburg, Fla.

How Jesus' death opened the doors to heaven. It's a difficult theological concept to explain.

Mary Spila

Palatine, Ill.

The exclusion of women from the priesthood. My children are surrounded by women of spirit and leadership.

Name withheld

Austin, Texas

Why bad things happen and God can't or doesn't seem to help or prevent them.

Name withheld

Pittsburgh, Pa.

I have been looking for materials to talk with my sons (ages 10, 13, and 15) about sexuality and relationships from a Catholic perspective. I have yet to come upon anything useful, more than "just wait until marriage."

Name withheld

Evanston, Ill.

I think the single best experience of faith my child has had so far is ...

Going to Mass each week and being part of the parish community. My children have friends whom they look forward to seeing at church.

Mary Feeney

Vancouver, Wash.

Allowing God to help us weather the divorce from their father. Watching God supply some of our basic needs.

A. J. Goode

Green Cove Springs, Fla.

Seeing their grandfather care for their grandmother.

Patrick Morris

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Doing charity and justice work for others. It makes them realize they are not the center of the world.

Kathleen McGourty

Arlington Heights., Ill.

Hearing the exceptional priest in our parish deliver thoughtful sermons. My 15-year-old really listens.

Name withheld

Framingham, Mass.

Attending a mission trip with their youth group last summer to serve in an inner-city homeless shelter. They all returned obviously stronger in their faith. It was a life-changing event.

Susan Bernt

Kalispell, Mont.

Being able to serve at Mass.

Name withheld

Kutztown, Pa.

At their Catholic high school, my sons are getting the entire package--Creed, traditions, scripture, history, the importance of Mass, and how to live their faith.

Name withheld

St. Louis, Mo.

Preparing for their First Communion.

Darci O'Donnell

Lee's Summit, Mo.

Handing on the faith has changed my own faith because ...

It is the number one reason I felt the need to come back to church. Having kids changed everything.

Maggie Merritt

Aptos, Calif.

It made me aware that they are always watching and they expect me to be a role model. I have to know my stuff.

Deacon Bob McMullen

Dover, Del.

It makes me dig deeper to develop my own faith so that I can pass it on.

Shelly Conlon

Iowa City, Iowa

I have learned a lot, especially about tolerance. Letting them go their own way is an adventure in faith.

Name withheld

Walled Lake, Mich.

I feel that we witness "small miracles" all the time, and I feel that the more I speak to them about our faith, the stronger my own faith constantly becomes.

Annmarie Nickdow

Lindenhurst, N.Y.

Praying with children allows you to pray with adults when you would ordinarily be embarrassed to do so. It doesn't matter what your dinner guests believe, your kids will insist on saying grace if that's what you've taught them to do.

Christine Way Skinner

Newmarket, Ontario

In passing on the faith, the most important responsibility of the parish is ...

To be pastoral with parents. Work with them. Do not put up rules and regulations to prevent them from sharing their faith with their children.

Linda Price

Wichita Falls, Texas

Supporting parents and making good resources available. When parishes take over from parents (even when that is what many parents want), faith is not truly passed on because parents are not fully living or modeling their faith.

Name withheld

St. Paul, Minn.

Providing good solid ministry for all of our parishioners. I really think that we are missing an opportunity in the 18- to 35-year-old segment.

Kevin Collings

Springfield, Ill.

Being a supportive community. Our faith is radical and countercultural. We as a community stand as something other to our materialistic society.

Mary Ann Zeszutko

Niskayuna, N.Y.

To be a community that consistently bears witness at every level to the love and example of Jesus Christ. Young people recognize hypocrisy.

Name withheld

Stuart, Fla.

To celebrate the talents of teens and allow them to participate in weekend liturgies as lectors, eucharistic ministers, ushers, or musicians and choir members.

Rodger Keenan

Painted Post, N.Y.

To get public speaking skills for our priests. The No. 1 complaint from my kids and other young adults is that they repeat themselves, are boring, need to get to the point, and are monotone.

Irene Francis

Crown Point, Ind.

To be open to having young children at Sunday Mass, daily Mass, and eucharistic adoration. A living church has those little voices singing and praying right alongside the mature generations.

Karen Patton

Harker Heights, Texas

To get quality textbooks for religious education. The textbooks in my parish are awful, dry, and not reaching kids at the middle-school level.

Name withheld

Middletown, Md.

General Comments

I know I need to spend more time praying with my children. I need to talk to them about what it means to pray and why it helps.

Kathleen Roberts

Richmond, Va.

I just started small--one year adding in prayers before meals, one year doing a Jesse tree to add Bible reading into our home, each Lent trying to add something like saying the rosary as a family or going to Stations of the Cross.

Camille Hildebrandt

Woodbury, Minn.

I'm always teaching them, "Whatever happens, yes or no, praise the Lord." Once when I didn't get an item on sale and was grumbling about it, a voice piped up, "Whether it's yes or no, Mama, praise the Lord!"

Effie Cordeiro

Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, Quebec

When they were in elementary school, it was easy; but now that they are older, the questions and attitudes are much more difficult to deal with.

Bennie Parker

Lake City, Fla.

Find times to pass on the faith every day. I have a captive audience in the car, so we pray, talk about the "saint of the day," make gratitude lists, and intercede on behalf of others when we drive.

Name withheld

Pflugerville, Texas

A big temptation is thinking, "Look how holy I am. I bring all these children to Mass, and they behave pretty well." I have to remind myself that God judges by our interiors, not our exteriors.

Name withheld

Framingham, Mass.

My 7-year-old son asked me the other day if they "still made saints" because he is hoping to be one someday. I assured him that God calls all of us to be holy.

Beth Simmonds

Columbus, Ohio
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:reader survey
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Date:Jun 1, 2007
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