The other day after our godchild received her First Communion, we were caught in the “center aisle traffic jam” trying to leave the church. There were a couple of moms with their daughters that were directly behind me. There was one girl around age 12, and two others who were probably 8 or so.
As we proceeded at a snail’s pace out of church, I heard one mom say to her daughter, “Don’t forget to bless yourself with holy water after you leave church.” I figured she was reminding one of the younger girls, until she continued, “What do you mean YOU DON’T KNOW HOW? What’s going on in CCD? You’ve got to start getting ready for Confirmation!”
With that the two younger girls piped up, “I know how! In the name of the Father…” and the two of them started blessing themselves—both with their left hands.
I kept my mouth shut then, but I’m saying it now. It’s NOT ENOUGH to depend on a weekly one-hour CCD class to teach your child the essentials of the faith. It’s up to you to make it happen at home. Any twelve-year-old child who has attended Mass regularly should know how to bless herself. But she won’t get to church unless you take her. If you choose to skip Sunday Mass more often than not, and do nothing but drop your child off at CCD so you can have an uninterrupted hour to do your grocery shopping, then you are outsourcing your child’s religious education.
It is not the fault of the twelve-year-old child, nor is it the fault of the CCD teachers, that she cannot bless herself. She should be doing this twice every Sunday during Mass, not to mention on her way into and out of church. She should have learned it during family prayer before a meal or bedtime prayers.
If you, the parent, expect your child to know the basics of her faith, then you have to be more than a taxi driver to and from CCD. And if you don’t know the basics yourself, it’s never too late to learn.