The home that makes a difference

Posted May 8, 2017 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: DRE & Faith Formation Coordinators, Parent's Perspective

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I think it’s fairly safe to assume that most Family Formation parents are very interested in raising their children to be adults with a strong commitment to Christ and the Church He established.  If that describes you, I think you’ll be interested in this landmark National Study of Youth and Religion by Dr. Christian Smith.  I’ll share a few of the standout quotes here:

  • the single greatest predictor of emerging adults’ eventual level of religious commitment was the religiosity of their parents.
  • of the most religious quartile of NSYR (National Study of Youth and Religion) young adults ages 24-29 (individuals whose religious attitudes Smith had been tracking since high school) an impressive 82% had parents who reported each of the following: that their family regularly talked about religious topics in the home, that faith was “very important” to them, and that they themselves regularly were involved in religious activities. By comparison, only 1% of the least religious quartile of Smith’s young adults had parents who reported this combination of religious attitudes and practices. Thus, according to the NSYR, the single most decisive difference between Millennials who remained religiously committed into adulthood and those who didn’t was the degree of religiousness exhibited by their parents.
  • The decisive criterion between these latter two categories, however, was not simply whether parents were religiously devout or practicing, but rather whether they considered living Catholically and forming their children religiously to be central dimensions of their general task of parenting. For parents who held this belief, the Catholic faith was not something their family occasionally “did,” but who they were. Nor was religion a vesture of ethnic or ancestral identity merely to be outwardly observed while remaining interiorly unconsidered, as if the fostering of such engagement in their children could be “outsourced” to clergy, CCD instructors, youth ministers, or other religious professionals. Rather, parents were generally the falling or rising point of their children’s own prospects for observing an adult faith.
  • Why is the household so important? It is in the home that, amidst a world of vast ideological and religious pluralism, of unlimited consumer choices and lifestyles, children receive a definitive orientation to the world and specific values for navigating it. The diminishment of ethnic and neighborhood Catholicism over the last fifty years has now caused the home, a relatively more isolated entity, to become the dominant religious subculture amid the current conditions. The home is the crucible where religious identity is primarily cultivated, or neglected. Whether they realize it or not, parents have been thrust center stage.
  • if Catholicism becomes a profound dimension of children’s inbred identity and habitual manner of encountering the world, it becomes increasingly unlikely that they would be able to exit Catholicism without ever engaging it seriously.
  • To put it simply, the more Catholic “stuff” to which children are exposed, the less likely they are to be able to envision their lives in isolation from the practices and relationships that being Catholic entails. The regular exposure to such practices and the family’s long-term dedication to them is the most effective way to guarantee their relevance to an emerging adult’s fundamental decisions about which values and obligations to prioritize in their lives. Furthermore, the family’s collective commitment to such practices cements the bonds between family members and also clarifies the intimate values which animate and suffuse those bonds. It is desirable that the love which joins members of the Catholic family together be inseparable from the religious dimension of the family’s communal life.
  • Secondly, effective Catholic parents tended to engage their children frequently in practices of religious conversation
  • a household in which religion is discussed openly and frequently is a household in which religion is neither compartmentalized nor swept under the rug out of awkwardness.
  • It is a crucial task of religious parenting to ensure that children are active participants in the life of the local Catholic community and that the respective vitalities of parish and home are mutually interpenetrating.
  • We must not underestimate the power of the family to leave a profound religious impression on children, one that lasts into adulthood.


The full article can be found in Issue #3.2 of The Catechetical Review.  As a subscriber, I have permission to share “for catechetical purposes.”  Email me if you would like the full text of the article.
This article is a summary of a soon to be released report from University of Notre Dame sociologist Dr. Christian Smith’s project entitled: “Parental Practices and Cultures of Faith Transmission to Children: Context, Commitments and Outcomes.”  A report from his research associate, Justin Bartkus, on the project’s findings specifically as they concern the handing on of Catholicism from parents to children will be entitled, “Ask Your Father and He Will Tell You: A Report on the State of American Catholic Religious Parenting”; and released soon through the Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame.


The Final Battle …

Posted May 8, 2017 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Uncategorized


The Final Battle

8 Things You Should Know About the Fatima Apparitions

Posted May 6, 2017 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Uncategorized

  1. We wrote about the first one, gaining an indulgence, yesterday.fatima icon
  2. Catholics are not bound to believe in the visions at Fatima.
  3. The miracle of the sun was requested by Lucia to prove that the devil was not at work in the apparitions.
  4. The chapel that Our Lady requested to be built in her honor in Fatima was destroyed in 1922.
  5. The famous statue of Our Lady of Fatima was made under the direction of Sister Lucia – one of the children to whom Our Lady appeared.
  6. The world is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
  7. The children at Fatima saw hell and we should take warning.
  8. Jacinta, one of the children who Our Lady appeared to, is an incorruptible.

Read the details of each here, at

Fatima Indulgences

Posted May 5, 2017 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Sue's Suggestions


Mary at Fatima - TinaDid you know Pope Francis has granted ways for you to receive a full indulgence throughout this anniversary year of the Fatima apparitions?

In addition to the usual conditions*, you can:

  1. Make a pilgrimage to the Fatima shrine in Portugal
  2. Pray before any statue of Our Lady of Fatima anywhere in the world
  3. And for the elderly and infirm – These individuals can pray in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima and must spiritually unite themselves to the jubilee celebrations on the days of the apparitions, the 13th of each month, between May and October 2017.

EWTN’s explanation of an indulgence:

A plenary indulgence means that by the merits of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the full remission of the temporal punishment due to sacramentally forgiven sins is obtained. The person becomes as if just baptized and would fly immediately to heaven if he died in that instant. A partial indulgence means that a portion of the temporal punishment due to forgiven sin is remitted. Partial indulgences are received either by doing some act to which a partial indulgence is attached (e.g. praying a partially indulgenced prayer), or by the incomplete fulfillment of the conditions attached to a plenary indulgence.

* For the “usual conditions” and a different explanation of indulgences, click over here.

Proclaim the gospel!

Posted May 2, 2017 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Uncategorized

In Mark 16:15, Jesus says “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”  Today, we would like to honor a group of volunteers whose work helps Family Formation parishes to do just that.

Our collating group meets each month to put together hundreds of packets and send them out to our subscribing parishes. (A few of the volunteers are pictured above.)  Before that happens though, we have other people who come in each week to prepare materials and still more who take things home to complete.

What looks like  measuring yarn, counting beads, cutting fabric, and all manner of other tedious jobs is really a group of generous volunteers using their time and talents to serve Christ and to make it possible for DREs, catechists, and parents down the line to talk about Jesus with their students and to do memorable activities to make those talks come to life.  We are so grateful for their work, and for all the ways they participate in Family Formation’s mission to help parents be the first and best teachers of their children in the Faith.

All in God’s Plan

Posted May 1, 2017 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Uncategorized

Thank you so much to all the volunteers who made this weekend’s Mother/Daughter Tea and Father/Son BBQ such successful events! Both are our Tier 1 events for the Archdiocese’s All in God’s Plan program, teaching families about one of God’s amazing gifts. You can learn more here.

Like most things we do here, these events begin with parent support and education – in this case, with a required Parent Night event held about 6 weeks earlier.  Then, both the boys and girls events feature speakers on virtue, the unique gifts of being a boy or girl, a talk from a medical professional on upcoming physical changes, and lots of fun!  Besides passing on information to the kids, it’s a wonderful opportunity to help parents and kids connect on this important topic.  It’s an annual event here for about the last 20 years and we recommend it highly!


All in God’s Plan is a three-part program offered at various stages of development for children, and their mothers, fathers, parents, guardians, or other strong role models in their lives. Each program is age specific and appropriate. It is intended to assist families in teaching youth about God’s gift of human sexuality and the sacredness of human life while emphasizing the importance of the family.

For additional information please contact the Office of Marriage, Family, and Life via email or by calling (651) 291-4489.

Lesson Notes: Mary and the Eucharist

Posted April 29, 2017 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Sue's Suggestions

Tags: ,

Mary & Eucharist - Copy

Do you want to love Jesus more?  If your answer is yes, this lessons suggests you ask Mary to be your tutor in how to do so because only she loved Him perfectly, and she is very motivated to help you!

The activity for this lesson will lead you through various points in Scripture where the lives of Jesus and Mary intersect so we can better learn from her example.  For your youngest kids, you may want to just do the puzzle and talk about these beautiful Bible stories.

For your older kids, go through the body of the lesson along with the puzzle, and for your oldest ones (teens and adults included), spend a little additional time with the litany on page 7.  Lex orandi, lex credendi is a foundational truth of the Catholic Faith teaching that we pray what we believe, and in this case, there is so much to be learned from meditating on these beautiful titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

One more thing – make sure everyone understands the invitation Mary is always extending to pray for us!  Her “job” now is to bring all of us closer to Jesus, and any way we can place our trust in that mission is to our eternal benefit.

  • Virgin most powerful
  • Seat of wisdom
  • Cause of our joy
  • Help of Christians
  • Queen of families


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