Faith in the holy family of Nazareth
Jesus made a profound impact on people of all ages when he began his public ministry at about the age of thirty.
People were astonished at his knowledge and authoritative teaching. They were deeply impressed also by his compassion towards all people, especially towards the least significant or marginalised members of society – children, widows, the poor, foreigners, refugees and public sinners. People wondered how and where he acquired such wisdom and learned such charity.
Although Jesus was and is the Son of God, the Scriptures make it clear that he was not born with complete knowledge and understanding of all the mysteries of God, nor was he perfectly developed in every human quality from the beginning. He grew in wisdom and understanding under the guidance and authority of his parents at home, in Nazareth (Lk 2:40, 51). Mary and Joseph played a vital role in his human and faith formation. They told him of the glorious works of God, taught him the Law and the Prophets, Jewish faith and practices. They prayed the psalms with him, taught him to ask for God's blessing at meal times, took him on annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, introduced him to worship in the synagogue and formed him in the virtues.
The tenderness, respect, fidelity and humble service that Jesus witnessed in his home and his experiences of his parents' kindness towards him, moulded his faith, his character and his understanding of God, marriage, family life and human relationships. As he grew older, all he learned and experienced in the home found expression in his teachings and in his compassionate behaviour.
The Holy Family of Nazareth reveals the importance of well-balanced, wholesome family life for the formation and growth of children in faith and in humanity. As the author of the Book of Proverbs teaches: 'Give a lad a training suitable to his character and, even when old, he will not go back on it' (Proverbs 22:6).
The Bible teaches that it is the parents who have the primary responsibility for passing on the faith to their children.
As Moses said, 'Do not forget the things your eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart all the days of your life; rather, tell them to your children and to your children's children’ (Dt 4:9). The Bible also assigns to parents the responsibility for keeping their children on the right path, through moral and spiritual formation: 'Parents… in bringing them up, correct them and guide them as the Lord does' (Eph 6:4).
The Church's role is to support parents in evangelising their children.
Our parish therefore offers comprehensive courses of catechism for every year of schooling, from Grade R to 12. They cover age-appropriate Bible study, Catholic doctrine, prayer, faith-sharing, formation in Christian values, outreach, practical application of Christ's teachings in our modern world and so on, with a view to helping children to grow in their relationship with God and as well-integrated, faith-filled young people. If your child has not been attending catechism, you are urged to bring him or her regularly, so that the Church can complement and reinforce the spiritual and moral formation in your home.