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This room is dedicated to those who are facing the challenge of raising children without the support of a spouse. This is a place to share ideas and lend mutual support.

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We were discussing children's ministries in the Church today. There were several Moms in on this discussion at my church. The general consensus was that many diocese don't do a great job with children's ministries. Some of the complaints were that there are not enough activities for kids, it is too much like going to school. and much of the content for older kids is watered down.


At my church, for a fourth grader, we have RE on Wednesday which is much like school. Beyond that, there is really not much - no handbell choirs, no fun over night "lock ins"...There is VBS in the summer, but nothing to "attract" the kids.


How are the children's ministries at other parishes?

10/15/2012 new

(Quote) Celia-821539 said: We were discussing children's ministries in the Church today. There were several Moms in on t...
(Quote) Celia-821539 said:

We were discussing children's ministries in the Church today. There were several Moms in on this discussion at my church. The general consensus was that many diocese don't do a great job with children's ministries. Some of the complaints were that there are not enough activities for kids, it is too much like going to school. and much of the content for older kids is watered down.


At my church, for a fourth grader, we have RE on Wednesday which is much like school. Beyond that, there is really not much - no handbell choirs, no fun over night "lock ins"...There is VBS in the summer, but nothing to "attract" the kids.


How are the children's ministries at other parishes?

--hide--
Our parish has RE classes for kids not enrolled in our school. We have a youth ministry which has both fun activities and Sacrament prep as part of it; they also have Jr High gatherings once a week.

That concensus of lack of ministry applies to more than just children's ministries. I think people on CM have talked about a lack of parish ministering to singles, to older singles, to divorced. And I've heard, in my own parish, the lack of support for marrieds and families! In our parish, we have a committee that helps the homeless, a pro-life group that just recently started, the various liturgical ministries, among others--over 30, I think. Yet what is accomplished is small, in part due to the lack of volunteerism. We just had a Ministry Fair this past weekend, and from what I heard, we had an average of one person sign up per ministry. Our parish membership is around 1000 families. Yes, I know the 20/80 rule--in any organization, 20% of the members do 80% of the work. That's supposed to be in the secular world. Christians are supposed to have better ideals, understandings and efforts, aren't we? I feel sad for the apathy, the other commitments which take precedence. We're feeding on the junk food rather than that which truly nourishes. At the same time, I have to consider that the condition our parishes are in today, just looking at volunteerism now, could be God's "no" in action; He, for His reason(s), does not want growth in certain areas. If this were accurate, then I'd have to study on where we in a parish might be off-course from what He wants of us. Even when we want "good" things or think we're doing good, sometimes it's not in His time for that good--our priorities might be mixed up, and this leads to a failure in ministry.

Just throwing some thoughts out there, Celia.

10/16/2012 new

(Quote) Celia-821539 said: We were discussing children's ministries in the Church today. There were several Moms in on t...
(Quote) Celia-821539 said:

We were discussing children's ministries in the Church today. There were several Moms in on this discussion at my church. The general consensus was that many diocese don't do a great job with children's ministries. Some of the complaints were that there are not enough activities for kids, it is too much like going to school. and much of the content for older kids is watered down.


At my church, for a fourth grader, we have RE on Wednesday which is much like school. Beyond that, there is really not much - no handbell choirs, no fun over night "lock ins"...There is VBS in the summer, but nothing to "attract" the kids.


How are the children's ministries at other parishes?

--hide--
Celia -- it's an age-old problem. The Church has limited resources and limited time, so it gravitates toward the mainstream population. A lot of parishes can't afford a "youth minister", so whatever is done is handled by volunteers. Some are very creative; most are doing the best they can with their abilities.

Other parishes, such as ours, are fortunate to have a youth minister who can plan a host of activities -- a well-rounded program that includes learning, work and social activities. A successful program should have balance in these areas. Young people are more likely to show enthusiasm or more interest in the overall program if there's a variety of activities.

It's difficult to accomplish, even with a well-qualified youth minister.

10/16/2012 new

(Quote) Ray-566531 said: Celia -- it's an age-old problem. The Church has limited resources and limited time, so it grav...
(Quote) Ray-566531 said:

Celia -- it's an age-old problem. The Church has limited resources and limited time, so it gravitates toward the mainstream population. A lot of parishes can't afford a "youth minister", so whatever is done is handled by volunteers. Some are very creative; most are doing the best they can with their abilities.

Other parishes, such as ours, are fortunate to have a youth minister who can plan a host of activities -- a well-rounded program that includes learning, work and social activities. A successful program should have balance in these areas. Young people are more likely to show enthusiasm or more interest in the overall program if there's a variety of activities.

It's difficult to accomplish, even with a well-qualified youth minister.

--hide--
I should have added that ultimately, the primary source of religious education is really with parents. They cannot slack off from their parental responsibilities and rely upon others to fulfill the parental role.

10/16/2012 new

Having been active in the same diocese you are presently in for most of my life, I think it is based on the different parishes in the diocese. It also comes down to the level of volunteers / children's ministry programs in your parish. Growing up, my home parish (even today) offers more than the cathedral does (and I am still a member of the cathedral even though I now live in Singapore) ... but the difference lies in the fact that it is an outlying church without a school attached and the parents are making sure their children are exposed to similar activities their non-Catholic friends are participating in at church weekly.
While in this summer, every Sunday for six weeks, the Children's Educational Ministry planned something for the junior high and high school students. This was not at the cathedral it was at an outlying parish. Whereas at the cathedral and other Knoxville churches (with friends and my goddaughter this summer), there was hardly anything mentioned in the bulletin or announcements at church. Working in the diocese schools and being active in the parishes, there isn't much offered on the weekend for the children attending public school either. They are trying to rectify that ... but ya need volunteers to make it work!

However, if the area has a parochial school like Knoxville, Oak Ridge, and I believe JC does, the activities for the non-students do seem a bit less. It's not that it is less, it is that the children also attend catechist classes daily at school; so they are not required to attend Sunday school and there are less children involved on the weekend. You see a difference in the Holy Communion and Confirmation age group because they do meet differently.

Teaching here in Singapore at an international parachoial school, I see the same thing happen. I teach the Catechist class for the kindergarten children during the week. Only a small percentage attend due to a conflict with tennis lessons and gymnastics offered at the same time. However, when we do our quarterly Kids for Jesus camp or other religious activities on weekends, there are more children involved because it is a one-time event versus a weekly event that coincides with another commitment.

Talk to your Children's Educational Minister, talk to the priest, talk to the other parents, we all have a responsibility to make sure our Catholic faith is passed onto the children.

10/16/2012 new

(Quote) Celia-821539 said: We were discussing children's ministries in the Church today. There were several Moms in on t...
(Quote) Celia-821539 said:

We were discussing children's ministries in the Church today. There were several Moms in on this discussion at my church. The general consensus was that many diocese don't do a great job with children's ministries. Some of the complaints were that there are not enough activities for kids, it is too much like going to school. and much of the content for older kids is watered down.


At my church, for a fourth grader, we have RE on Wednesday which is much like school. Beyond that, there is really not much - no handbell choirs, no fun over night "lock ins"...There is VBS in the summer, but nothing to "attract" the kids.


How are the children's ministries at other parishes?

--hide--
It's easy for a group of people, or even individuals, to complain, but it seems no one in your group has offered to help out with this important, in fact, vital ministry. Isn't there someone in the group willing to volunteer to help? In a Church that is heavily dependent upon volunteers, people are needed to come forth and offer their services, time and talents. This applies to other needs of the Church as well. We can't rely upon a pastor to take care of all the wants and needs of a parish, especially at a time when there's a shortage of priests. Same with nuns. It's up to the lay people to pitch in. It's painless and the rewards are great. Planning events for the young people can be a group effort so no one person is overburdened.

Just tossing that out as something to think about and bring up to the group. As the saying goes, "Be part of the solution, not the problem."

10/16/2012 new

After the sex abuse scandal, most bishops prohibited or severely limited any programs in which children and clergy would interact.


Instead of getting together to grouse, the women of your parish should meet with the pastor and organize something.

10/16/2012 new

We have an amazing youth ministry separate and apart from CCD. There are two couples that care for the bulk, but all of the parents chip in, as do our Knights when things need to be accomplished. It depends on the parish, number of kids and which parents are willing to make time. Tge adults make time for them, and they help out whenever, where ever they are needed. They monitored the little ones on the water slide for our feast day. Granted, I belong to a small, unusually family-like church, but it is possible in other places. heart

10/16/2012 new

(Quote) Celia-821539 said: How are the children's ministries at other parishes?
(Quote) Celia-821539 said:




How are the children's ministries at other parishes?

--hide--


We have a WIDE variety at my church. All are parishioner initiated, I believe.


I believe RE is from grades K-7 and confirmation is a two-year program in 8th/9th. Confirmation students are required to attend retreats and do service projects.

We normally have VBS for a week in the summer (grades K-5), but it was changed to Totus Tuus this past summer. One program for the younger kids, don't remember the grades. But another for 7th - 12th, which was awesome to have offered.

We have two great youth minstry (group) programs that run year round. Junior High = Grades 6-8, and High School 9-12. Both do age appropriate, relevant activities, from having fun, to doing service work. My own kids have gone on many mission trips, served at soup kitchens, attended Steubenville, and the March for Life over the past several years. They also have lock-ins. They've even had a few cardboard cities where we obtain huge boxes and the junior high kids taped them into individual/small dwellings and then slept outside, eating cold food, for the night. Big tie in to homelessness.

We have two youth choirs. One is grade 3-maybe 8th. And they've just started a high school choir, I think.

During Sunday mass at 9 and 10:30 a.m., there's a Kids for Christ program where parents can drop their children off for the entire mass, ages 1-5 (I believe). No charge, but I think a parent needs to sign up to volunteer once every so many weeks. Not sure since I haven't ever needed it.

During the 10:30 mass, we have CLT (Children's Liturgy of the Word) where kids ages 5-9ish can leave just before the readings, to hear the gospel at a level more likely for them to understand. They rejoin their parents right before communion.

We have a family adoration, once a month I believe, where families are encouraged to attend, bringing children of any age.

I've seen a family rosary time as well, not sure how often that happens. Possibly once a month.

Of course, alter servers.

At a newer mass time, the Sunday evening 5:30 mass, which they started since they hold the confirmation class right after (allows many confirmation students to attend mass, even if their family chooses to not go) the youth are the lectors, ushers, Eucharist ministers (if old enough), and may even sing.

10/17/2012 new

(Quote) Wendy-387654 said: We have a WIDE variety at my church. All are parishioner initiated, I believe. <...
(Quote) Wendy-387654 said:


We have a WIDE variety at my church. All are parishioner initiated, I believe.


I believe RE is from grades K-7 and confirmation is a two-year program in 8th/9th. Confirmation students are required to attend retreats and do service projects.

We normally have VBS for a week in the summer (grades K-5), but it was changed to Totus Tuus this past summer. One program for the younger kids, don't remember the grades. But another for 7th - 12th, which was awesome to have offered.

We have two great youth minstry (group) programs that run year round. Junior High = Grades 6-8, and High School 9-12. Both do age appropriate, relevant activities, from having fun, to doing service work. My own kids have gone on many mission trips, served at soup kitchens, attended Steubenville, and the March for Life over the past several years. They also have lock-ins. They've even had a few cardboard cities where we obtain huge boxes and the junior high kids taped them into individual/small dwellings and then slept outside, eating cold food, for the night. Big tie in to homelessness.

We have two youth choirs. One is grade 3-maybe 8th. And they've just started a high school choir, I think.

During Sunday mass at 9 and 10:30 a.m., there's a Kids for Christ program where parents can drop their children off for the entire mass, ages 1-5 (I believe). No charge, but I think a parent needs to sign up to volunteer once every so many weeks. Not sure since I haven't ever needed it.

During the 10:30 mass, we have CLT (Children's Liturgy of the Word) where kids ages 5-9ish can leave just before the readings, to hear the gospel at a level more likely for them to understand. They rejoin their parents right before communion.

We have a family adoration, once a month I believe, where families are encouraged to attend, bringing children of any age.

I've seen a family rosary time as well, not sure how often that happens. Possibly once a month.

Of course, alter servers.

At a newer mass time, the Sunday evening 5:30 mass, which they started since they hold the confirmation class right after (allows many confirmation students to attend mass, even if their family chooses to not go) the youth are the lectors, ushers, Eucharist ministers (if old enough), and may even sing.

--hide--


My parish offers a great many opportunities for children of all ages. This, in part, is since merging with the neighboring parish that already had an active youth group. There is a bus that transports kids to alternating locations. They are invited to be part of the children's choir, acolytes, faith formation classes and children's liturgy. The older kids have weekly prayer breakfasts, community service activities monthly, mission trips, sporting trips, youth rallies, lock-ins, etc. They can also help out Faith in Action over the holidays, serve with their parents as ushers or greeters and become Liturgical ministers.

Our children don't get confirmed until 11th grade, so there is a lot of time for them to be active.

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