Parents as First Bible Study Leaders

One of my favorite sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is nos. 2221-31, which magnificently sets forth the duties of parents toward their children. I often mess things up in practice, but after prayerful reading of the Catechism there should be little doubt as to the theory: As parents we are called to evangelize and catechize our children, with the goal of raising up a new generation of saints.

While others rightly are called to assist with evangelization and catechesis–in other words, with the work of the Church–parents are primarily responsible for the religious formation of their children as their “first heralds” of the faith (CCC 2225). For that reason, “family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith” (CCC 2226).

In fulfilling our responsibilities as parents, we cannot overlook the fundamental role of Sacred Scripture in proclaiming and teaching the faith. That’s one reason I’m excited that the Synod of Bishops this year is focusing on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church. The Synod won’t take place until later in the year, but already the Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris, or working document, is available. Click here for the complete text.

Here is how the Synod’s working document has summarized the role of Sacred Scripture in family catechesis:    

“A privileged means of encounter with the God who speaks is catechesis within families, which can be enhanced with the Bible passages and preparation of the readings of the Sunday liturgy. The family’s task is to introduce children to Sacred Scripture through reading the great stories of the Bible, especially the life of Jesus, and through prayer inspired by the Psalms or other pertinent books.”

In the coming months we will post on various biblical themes that are treated in the working document and thus are likely to be addressed by the Synod and eventually by the Holy Father himself in his post-Synod document. In doing this, and through Lay Witness magazine as well as Emmaus Road Publishing as well, Catholics United for the Faith continues to use all the media at our disposal to put people in contact with the Bible, as commended in the working document:

“Today, the technology and the means which put people in contact with the Bible are many and generally well-done, including commentaries, introductory materials to the Bible, Bibles for children and young people, spiritual books and scholarly and popular magazines on the Bible, not to mention the vast field of simple and elaborate means which serve to communicate the Word of God. The Bread of the Word needs to be offered and made understandable to our brothers and sisters in the faith.”

Lastly, speaking of Scripture study, I heartily encourage readers to join Dr. Laurie Manhardt, coauthor of Emmaus Road’s popular “Come and See” Bible study series, and the rest of the dynamic “Come and See” team for the School of Catholic Bible Study this summer (July 24-27) in Plymouth, Michigan. In honor of the “Year of St. Paul,” the focus of this year’s program will be the letters of St. Paul as well as the Acts of the Apostles. There is still limited space available, so register now to make your reservations!

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