The bad news, they say, is the situation depicted by a study showing only 17% of Catholic parents consider it “very important or essential” for their kids to share their faith. (Mainline Protestants also came in at 17%, Jews 13%, Unitarians a resounding 0%.)
If you wonder why so many children turn away from religion, the answer starts here.
But here also is where grandparents could help, either by filling the parental gap where it exists or reinforcing the efforts of conscientious parents who work at sharing their faith with offspring. In either case, grandparents will do their part in forging that intergenerational “alliance” of which Pope Francis speaks.
Here let me commend to your attention an unpretentious little book offering those who doubt their ability as religious educators simple, practical guidance. Hope for Your Grandchildren: Talking to the Third Generation About What Matters is the title. It’s the work of Stephen Gabriel, a Catholic author and grandfather living and writing in the Washington, DC suburb of Falls Church, VA, and is published by Scepter.
The book is in the form of letters from Gabriel to his young adult grandchildren. In a brief introduction addressed to other grandparents, he explains that the letters are meant as “examples or templates” to help readers formulate their own approaches to grandkids. He doesn’t say so, but it occurs to me that parents also would find this helpful.
The 16 short letters cover an interesting variety of topics that range from God to work to dealing with hardship. The writing is direct and to the point, as in this on vocation: “God our Lord has a plan for each person he creates: his or her sanctity. Within this universal Christian vocation to holiness, he has a specific plan for each of us. You will discover this calling if you develop a personal relationship with Christ.”