Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Teach Them What They Should Know"

I admit that I am a bit proud to learn that the newest approved Marian Shrine, the only one in the United States, happens to be in my own home state of Wisconsin. My parents were great travelers, visiting all of the worldwide shrines with the exception of Medjugorie-although I'm sure they would have gone there had the opportunity ever arisen, and although I can't be quite sure, I do remember talk about Robinsonville/Champion as I was growing up, especially since we lived in the Diocese of Green Bay, so I'm sure that they most likely have visited that site as well. Now, I am no world traveler, that's for sure. I've never stepped foot on an airplane and can count all of my out-of-state visits on one hand, but considering the close proximity to which I live to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, I am certain that a road trip is in the near future for me!

I am sure that you are not reading anything new here about the historic declaration by Bishop David Ricken that yesterday, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, he called the shrine in Champion, Wisconsin "worthy of belief" after all, it's been all over the internet at such well known sites as The Deacon's Bench, The National Catholic Register and one of my favorite homestate blogs, The Badger Catholic.

The message that the Queen of Heaven gave to Adele Brise was one about catechism and it fills me with joy and hope: “... Teach them what they should know for salvation … Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross, and how to approach the sacraments …”

In a recent post, I complained about the struggles that my sons who attend Confirmation classes endure because of the misbehavior of other children who are in their classes. Yesterday morning, after Mass, our Youth Minister approached me and apologized because the latest session for the students who are juniors in high school and are preparing to be confirmed this year, was a total disaster. She said that as far as she can see, my son is the only boy in the entire junior class who has a sincere interest in receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. It seems that one of the regular catechists was not able to be at the class, so our youth minister took her place for the evening. The boys in that particular group had our sweet youth minister in tears. They were verbally criticizing her and attacking her so that she didn't even have a chance to respond to their cruel comments. (Of course I had heard this whole story from my son, already.) She told me that she plans to call on our pastor to speak to these boys who have no interest whatsoever in learning about their faith. I embraced her and told her I would be praying for her and for all of the students, and offered her my assistance and willingness to come to the sessions and help to restore order.

My husband and I had an interesting discussion about it last night, and we both agreed that if it were up to us, we would be calling the parents of those boys and telling them that their sons are not ready to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and were being dropped from the sessions with the option to re-enroll next year. Although I'm sure that would be met with today's all-too-common response of the families simply leaving the parish in disgust because they can't get their way for 'junior' who is absolutely perfect! Do I sound a little bitter? If so, I'm sure it's leftover remnants from the years when Paul and I taught Christian formation and saw firsthand how many parents want something for nothing-like they want someone else to teach their children about the faith, but they aren't willing to do any catechizing at home, and can't even be bothered to bring their children to Mass on Sunday.

This is the reason why this newest Marian Shrine has me feeling hopeful. Here is a message of the importance of knowing the catechism before receiving the sacraments. Here is someone to whom we can pray for intercession in our struggles to answer the call to teach our children in the ways of the faith. Thank you, Queen of Heaven, Our Lady of Good Help, for your maternal assistance in the work of teaching our children their catechism. Thank you for this new shrine that brings so much hope to weary parents and catechists alike! And thank you Bishop Ricken for holding this Shrine up as a beacon of light in the importance of education in the faith.

Now, when is Adele Brise going to be declared a saint?


  1. One of my favorite priest's use to say the the parents were the first teacher to their children in the ways of the faith. Sadly, may parents do little to encourage their children in this direction and leave it for the catechists or the church.

    I agree with you, that parents often want something for nothing regarding the is a shame.

    You will have to keep us posted as to your upcoming visit to Our Lady of Good Help.

  2. We have some families like this in our church. It makes me wonder if it's better to let the children receive the Sacrament so that God can work through the Sacraments in order to bring them closer to the church or if it's better to be more stringent about people receiving the Sacraments out of respect for the solemnity of the occasion.

  3. Anne,
    What a sad story. I'll pray for these kids and the youth minister.

    It's awesome that you live in the state with the 1st approved Marian apparitions in the U.S.! When I read about it yesterday I thought of you. I hope you will be able to visit the Shrine!
    Our Lady of Good Help pray for us!