Catechism Chat: How to Introduce Your Kids to Church Teaching
The truth is: The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a beautiful compendium of the essentials of Church teaching, written in a cohesive way that unites Scripture and Tradition and includes passages from the saints, early Church Fathers and councils of the Church.
When promulgated by St. John Paul II in 1992, it became the first universal catechism in more than 400 years. Yes, it’s an important point of reference for Catholics, but it’s written much more poetically than most people think. For instance, it begins: “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself” (27).
As parents, we are the first educators of our children (2223). As learned as we might be, nothing trumps our lived witness as parents and the home environment we create. Our kids are always watching our behaviors, how we speak to and about each other, and how we honor our faith. So how do we introduce our kids to the Catechism and invite them into a deeper relationship with Christ and his Church?
First of all, take it to prayer. If our kids are going to understand their faith as more than rules and rituals, they must first see us parents living out a prayerful relationship with Christ. Take your Catechism to a local chapel, the backyard or the messy dining room table, and ask for the grace to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We must be a well that pours over the grace of God to our children. By being united to Christ in a regular rhythm of prayer, we’ll grow in the peace and wisdom necessary to lead our children, recognizing what they can handle and where we can point them deeper.
Secondly, there are many “versions” of the Catechism that we can utilize for teaching kids at varying ages. We’ve used several variations with our own children. For instance, we have an illustrated, question-and-answer Baltimore Catechism that has helped our children prepare well for first Communion. We also have a YouCat for Kids that our kids read on their own; this version includes helpful questions and quotes from the saints and other Catholic figures like G.K. Chesterton. The original YouCat is also a colorful instruction of the faith (both are available at EWTNRC.com). Our older kids inevitably land on some unexpected page, read a bit, and start sharing what they read or ask us questions. Speaking of questions, our kids have questions — all the questions. “Are we real?” our 6-year-old philosopher asked one night, shortly before her befuddlement over God having a mother: “Why do we say Mary, the Mother of God? God can’t make his own mommy … can he?” (Starting at 487, the Catechism has plenty to say on Mary, thankfully!) Sometimes we’re good at answering questions our kids aren’t asking and ignoring the questions that they are. If we don’t know the answer, we can easily say, “That’s a great question! I’m not sure, but let’s look it up together!” As parents, we have to always be growing in understanding of the rich treasure of our faith, encourage our kids that they know their questions are good, and show them where they can find the answers.
Lastly, we’ve all witnessed the global popularity of The Bible in a Year podcast with Father Mike Schmitz. Father Schmitz is back in 2023 with The Catechism in a Year, taking 365 days to walk through the Catechism in brief chunks, narrating the text with his own insightful and warm commentary. Listening to Father Schmitz’s new podcast will be a beautiful opportunity to dive into the Catechism with your family (with other people around the world). What a gift to give our children: becoming familiar with and taking to heart the Catechism as a family.
Jackie and Bobby Angel are a husband and wife who live the faith while parenting their children and working as authors, speakers, musicians and evangelists for the Catholic faith. They are regular contributors on the Ascension Presents YouTube channel and also host the Conversations with Jackie and Bobby podcast.
- catechism of the catholic church
- catholic family life
- instructing children in the faith