Busy, busy, busy

…is an understatement. I can’t remember the last time I had three days so busy. This week so far has included countless individual meetings with individual parents for similarly infinite number of reasons; leading a training meeting for RCIA catechists and sponsors where we studied the principles of what we are doing and planned for the year ahead; giving a talk to this year’s group of Confirmation parents; launching 3 out of 4 First Communion classes in various venues; resolving problems between the school and the parish and CRB checks; meeting with First Communion catechists to go over the content for the first few classes; meeting Confirmation candidates for initial interviews and tests…the list goes on!

At the end of the day, I thank God that I can say – Holy Spirit, this is your Church – I just work here!

Really, I love my job, and I love the parish. The one thing that saddens me is when parents have so many other priorities over their child’s formation: for example, when a rugby match comes above a Confirmation retreat, or when ‘homework time’ needs to be scheduled into the retreat. At a meeting a few days ago, I told the story of a teenage boy who attended the older youth group in the parish. He was also a swimmer, and had to swim several times a week to stay on the team. When one of those practices regularly collided with the group (at the time they were following the Great Adventure’s Teen Timeline), he had to make a decision. It was an amazing moment when I heard from our youth coordinator that this teenage boy had chosen the Teen Timeline over his swimming. Hopefully it sank in for some of them. I repeat again…

Holy Spirit – this is your Church – I’m just working in it!

Not your typical Confirmation retreat...🙂

About transformedinchrist

I live in Southsea and work for the Diocese of Portsmouth. My first love is for catechesis and evangelisation: until January 2013, I worked for a busy, thriving parish in south London coordinating the catechesis - sacramental programmes and adult formation. In November 2013, I completed my MA in catechetics at Maryvale Institute, Birmingham. View all posts by transformedinchrist

4 responses to “Busy, busy, busy

  • ek

    Agree. I had similar experiences in the past (although I never had anything like your level of responsibility within a parish)… parenting is a hard job of course, but it’s sad when parents are so ambitious for their kids’ academic and sporting achievements, while at the same time neglecting their kids’ spiritual formation, wider education, and need for strong friendships…

    The experience of regular retreats during my final (and very demanding) year of university, really helped rather than hindered my study, wellbeing and ability to focus!

    Seven years on, I guess it’s time to stop and to look again at my own life in light of all that. I’m probably making the same mistake as these parents – while parenting only myself. How often do I truly ‘retreat’ into quiet prayer or spiritual reading? Or am I too consumed in efforts to reach the next strategic goal?

  • Nix

    Hi. I enjoy following your blog and learn much from it. As a busy catechist and parent of 4, I really have great sympathy for the other parents. I do think the pressures placed on children and the amount of homework now are much greater than when you and certainly I (you are much younger than me, I suspect) had to deal with. I also have to deal with the parents, but I’m one of them! Half the time, I don’t know what the best course of action for my own children is, never mind presuming to know for other parents! Keep up the good work, but don’t bash the parents too much, please.

    • transformedinchrist

      Nix, you’re right, it’s a tough one for parents. The pressure that teenagers and therefore parents are under is enormous. Though I guess sometimes I wonder how much of this pressure is needed? Does it really help teenagers grow into flourishing human beings with lots to offer? It seems to me that especially in London this pressure is huge – everyone has to keep up with everyone else. I have a 15-year-old brother back home in Gloucestershire, on the other hand, who enjoys a pretty carefree life compared to the young people I know in our parish, he just enjoys his life & he still gets good grades (and not because he’s really bright, because he’s not really haha!) At the same time, I take your point, parenting is the toughest job there is and I always make the point that the parish is to support the role of parents in handing on the faith, not make it more difficult.
      Thanks for your comment!

  • Christian

    “parents have so many other priorities over their child’s formation”

    Sure: for many parents of children in my catechism class, faith comes last. But that doesn’t discourage me. Instead it motivates me to not only catechize the kids, but to enable the kids catechize their parents. The way I see it, every time a child does show up for class I have 55 minutes to teach them interesting and worthwhile stuff about the Catholic faith. And that is a huge opportunity.

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