Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Passing on the Faith - The Grandparents' Role

Catherine Wiley, Founder of the Catholic Grandparents’ Association writes:
"Our children have grown up and left us to continue on their individual life journeys. They are married now and have their own children. The great spin off for us is eight beautiful grandchildren who are a wonderous joy.

As parents we are always thinking of our children, and are somtimes anxious and worried about them. They do not seem to feel the need for Christ or His Church. I pray for them every day and trust that the Good Lord will hear my prayer.

One day as I was wondering what else I could do to leave something of my values and faith to them when the time came for me to leave this world, I thought of our ancestors who were prepared to die for their Faith to preserve it for us. I thought about the thousands of martyrs and saints who gave all for Christ and are now in Heaven. I thought of the privilege it is to be a baptised Catholic. I thought how the Holy Catholic Church is judged today by its sinful members. I believe God will deal with them and us in his way.

I then had an idea of making each of my children a "Faith Box". I bought sturdy boxes and began to gather anything I could find relating to our faith from their childhood. Baptisimal certificates were first into the boxes, with any available photos of church, priest, and those present, and I named their Godparents. Next great event was First Holy Communions, medals prayer books, cards, prayer books, photos and Holy pictures etc were added. Then came Confirmation Certificates, and I found some written promises! It paid to be a hoarder!! I popped in some photos of grandparents, sponsors, medals etc.

In each box I placed Holy water, a font, Blessed salt, Blessed oil, and a good explanation on Sacramentals. Nothing can be taken for granted! Rosary beads and a booklet explaining how to say the rosary. The next items were a Bible, a Catechism of Catholic doctrine. As I was gathering other booklets I came across "Why be a Catholic"? by Dr Mark Dooley, I thought it was a good choice. I put in little letters and cards they had given to me as children. One of them had a print by Holman Hunt of Jesus , "Behold I stand at the door and knock" given to him at his Confirmation. I am sure he will be surprised to see it again!!

These are just a few suggestions, once you begin you will be amazed how the Lord will show you what is appropriate for each one. Lastly I wrote each of them a personal letter. I told them of the situation in the family before they were born, of the day of their birth and the great joy at their arrival. I reminded them of taking them to be baptised into the Body of Christ in the Roman Catholic Church, their first Holy Communion and Confirmation days. The letter concluded with " as you continue on the pilgrimage of life my prayer for you is that you will give some thought to these feeble efforts of mine to pass on the beauty and richness of our Catholic Faith. I asked them to forgive me my failings and shortcomings and for failing them in any way.

Before the boxes were wrapped to be put away until after my death I had them solemly blessed by a priest. A photo of the priest blessing the boxes was included.

Enjoy the project, it is something you can do for you children to be passed to you grandchildren. You will not be dissappointed and you will receive abundant blessings for your best efforts."

For information on activities for Catholic Grandparents in A&B Diocese contact: Katherine Bergin, Marriage & Family Life Adviser. Tel: 01293 651152 or Email:

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