When I was five I experienced my first wedding. Three older sisters and my twin brothers were present. We were in an upstairs bedroom. My sisters had dressed me up in a fancy dress. Jim was the priest. Jon brought in the groom – Benji, a Shetland Sheepdog. When I was asked if I took Benji for my husband, I said, “I do.” When Jim asked Benji if he took me for his wife, Jon opened his mouth and said, “I do.” At the end of the ceremony, Jon threw some beads (that was the rice) and it was over.
(No, it’s not Benji, but this is me with my first Sheltie, Sally, the dog on the right.)
Hopefully, when you read this it brought a smile. Children can be creative in so many ways! Plus, they imitate what they see from adults. I “loved” dogs and somehow that translated to my brothers and sisters that it meant we could “get married.” None of us really thought that a human could marry a dog, but it was fun to act out. It was an innocent, and happy, memory that I have of my childhood.
Unfortunately, our children today receive a lot more conflicting messages about love and marriage and family. Our culture fills their minds with pictures, TV shows and ads that promote distorted views on how God created the human person, the human marriage and the human family to be. Our culture does not have to have the last word, but it will take concerted effort on our part!
Jesus gave us the Church to be a beacon of light in the darkness. And a beautiful extension of His Church is our Catholic Schools. No doubt, each morning as you drop off your child at St. Peter’s, you have a sense of peace in your heart that here, at least, your child will be surrounded by goodness, truth and beauty. Grandparents Day of Catholic Schools Week was a great visible witness to this goodness as family and school came together to celebrate. Enjoy the pictures!
Here at St. Peter’s, your child will have his/her mind filled with the knowledge of being a precious child of God, created in His image and likeness. Here, your child will learn that love is a relationship marked by true concern and a willingness to sacrifice for the good of the other, just as Jesus sacrificed for us. Here, your child will be prepared for the sacraments that open their hearts to the grace of the Holy Spirit working within.
These concepts, and more, are part of what Saint John Paul II called a “culture of life” that fight against the “culture of death.” In the first five years of his pontificate, he taught the world through his Wednesday audiences what has come to be called the “Theology of the Body.” He revealed in ways that had never been expressed before in the Church, how the gift of our human body expresses the soul and communicates who we are to one another.
As parents, you have the challenge to help navigate your child through a culture that tries to pull your child down and, while claiming to exalt the freedom and rights of every individual, regardless of the deviant nature of their desires, actually denigrates those freedoms and rights that God gave us from the very beginning. This short video I recently came across could be helpful and encouraging for you in the role God has given you as you guide your child:
In the coming year, the Office of Religious Education for the Lincoln Diocese will be promulgating a Theology of the Body curriculum for our Catholic elementary schools. This is an exciting endeavor as it will take our current religion curriculum and heighten the awareness of the amazing dignity we have as human persons. With this deeper emphasis, your child will be even more prepared to face the world with confidence as a beloved child of God. Please pray for this endeavor and stay tuned for more details in the months ahead.
God bless you!
Sister Mary Angela, CK