Growing Up Catholic … Time For Us To Do Something!
“One generation plants the trees and another enjoys the shade.” I read this Chinese proverb and thought it seemed very appropriate regarding stewardship in the Church. 1 Timothy, chapter 5, talks about our responsibility to pass on the faith to others. Most important, in Galatians 6:9, we are reminded, “Let us never grow tired of doing good, for in due time, we will reap our harvest, if we do not give up.”
My husband, Dick, and I have been married 38 years and have lived in Vincennes all our lives. This summer we will be moving to a new home. In 1976, we built the house we are leaving; it is the home where we raised our family. Our spiritual formation and Catholic faith are deeply rooted in this historic city. So, why are we leaving? In my heart I know God is saying it is time to go and grow! “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” —Ecclesiastes 3:1
It is hard to leave our spiritual home, Sacred Heart Parish, where all our Sacraments took place. I have great memories of my days at Sacred Heart Grade School. There were 350 students in grades 1-8 taught by the Benedictine Sisters during that time period (1963-1970). A new building was built in 1961 to accommodate an increase in enrollment. The students went to Mass every morning, and we filled the church. Devotions like the rosary and Stations of the Cross were practiced. The teachers made sure all the girls had a chapel veil or a tissue stuck on their head with a bobby pin.
I still remember which pews my class sat in during each of my eight grades. We had Religion class every day; but once a month our Pastor talked to us in the church about the Mass and Sacraments. I am not sure how we squeezed in time for the academics, but it was a great education. There was a religious store in the hall of the “Old Building” where you could buy books, bibles, rosaries, statues and holy cards.
It was a big deal when Fr. Henry Doll passed out the report cards every term. And he always gave us a blessing before he left the room. I remember him pitching to the boys on the playground when they played baseball at recess. I grew up realizing that my Catholic faith was an important part of my life. I am very grateful for the religious instruction I received through grade school.
In the early 1970s, education began to change. Some of the core subjects were combined and called “Liberal Arts.” Required reading for Religion class was a book titled: “I’m OK, You’re OK,” by Thomas Anthony Harris. The world was changing, trying to make life better; but was it successful? In 1975, the Parish Council at Sacred Heart made a decision to sell the newer grade school building to the Vincennes School Corporation because of a decline in enrollment. What happened in that 14-year period in Vincennes was happening everywhere. Faith was not a priority.
There are many things to explain what shifted in our culture during that time frame; and in 1975, I was not too concerned. Today, I am very interested in the future of the Church. Parents are primarily responsible for the religious education of their children, and the generation of students that missed out on good catechesis is not capable of helping their children understand the faith.
It is time to do something as lay people! The answer is simple; share God’s love by teaching your children the Catholic faith. The traditions of the Church are solid because they have remained faithful to the teachings of Jesus. There are plenty of resources and information to help and your witness is important. Our Parish Priest is our partner and Christ is counting on all of us! By our Baptism we have been given the power!
Come Holy Spirit! Amen!