Some time back I went through a catechist training program through Dayton University. I enjoyed the program and I’m glad I did it. Today, I simply use what I learned therein to teach my own children the faith. As a homeschooling father, I am particularly sensitive to the needs of Catholic parents instructing their children. So I’m going to keep this blog short, sweet and too the point.
You don’t need to be a trained catechist or take a course on how to teach your children the faith. However, the one thing you should NEVER do is trust others with this task. If you’re sending your kids to a Catholic school, or to a Catechism class at your local parish, and you’re expecting your Catholic school or parish to handle this, then you’ve already lost your kids. It’s over. The odds of them remaining Catholic are already very slim.
The only way to truly pass the faith on to your children is to DO IT YOURSELF !!!!!
This is why I recommend for parents only one Catechism — The Baltimore Catechism. That’s right, instruct your children using the Baltimore Catechism. To do this, you need the following. You must first get The Baltimore Catechism for adults and instructors. This will be your own personal catechism to do prep work for every lesson. Just read every lesson in advance (usually the night before) then teach your children the next day, having them read their lessons in their own Catechism book…
Then get the instructional versions for your children…
You will find that on the Baltimore Catechism #1 and #2, the lessons perfectly align with the Adult / Instructor version. While as with the First Communion Catechism #0 the lessons are more of a brief overview to be read with child and parent together.
Now in saying this, I am not disparaging the US Bishops Catechism or the Universal Catechism from Rome. On the contrary, these Catechisms can make good supplementals to the Baltimore Catechism, but these are made for adults not children. Nor are they designed to help parents instruct their children. The Baltimore Catechism should be the staple for every Catholic family. It is the most time-honored and successful Catechism in English history. It was also the Catechism most used by the US Catholic Church prior to the new catechisms that followed the Second Vatican Council. To those who say the Baltimore Catechism is obsolete, I say something can never be obsolete that was so universally approved by the US Catholic Bishops as their staple up until just a generation ago.
So if you’re looking to instruct your family (spouse and children) in the traditional and historic Catholic faith, use the Baltimore Catechism. It’s the only thing I use with my wife and children. I recommend the same for all Catholic families.
Shane Schaetzel is an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism and was trained as a catechist through the University of Dayton – a Catholic Marianist Institution. Shane’s articles have been featured on LifeSiteNews, ChurchMilitant, The Remnant Newspaper, Forward in Christ, and Catholic Online. Shane is an author of Catholic books, which can be read here.