SummaryHow does a Catholic parent train their child to fulfill the Gospel mandate to go forth and preach the Good News to all nations? Matthew 28:19
Evangelize with Words if Necessary…
Whether or not St. Francis of Assisi offered the instruction, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words,” is debatable, but the instruction is not.
To be effective evangelists, to spread the Gospel, requires both a vocal and silent proclamation. I strive to form my children to become knowledgeable in the precepts of the faith, courageous in speaking Truth, and faithful in daily duties.
Before sharing the Gospel, one must encounter it and come to grasp its meaning. To that end, I chose a homeschool curriculum that aligns with our Catholic faith and presents readers with stories of the most effective evangelists, the saints.
Evangelists also need to develop basic skills of effective communication. I instruct my sons and daughters to speak and write well. And I give them opportunities to exercise those skills. (Okay, occasionally, I thrust them into those opportunities.)
Learning to communicate well begins simply: writing thank you cards, speaking to the cashier, answering a phone call (that is becoming a lost art!), applying for a job, and introducing yourself to a new person.
Live the Gospel
Lastly, but most importantly, I show my students how to live the Gospel by fulfilling my daily duties: praying, laundering, and tidying the house. Without words, I do those things that love demands of me as a wife, mother, teacher, and friend. And I require them to meet their obligations (aka chores).
Though I am not always successful, I work hard to do all this with patience, charity, and joy. And as much as I can, I attempt to elicit the same virtues from my children.
To preach the Gospel is to make Jesus Christ known in the world. It is to evangelize with our lives, in words and deeds.
As Catholic homeschoolers, we are obligated to form tomorrow’s evangelists, and we have the privilege of knowing how to achieve that goal: by using faith-filled educational resources, teaching effective communication skills, and modeling the virtues in silent action.
Tara Brelinsky, North Carolina
Evangelize by the “Pouring in” of Christ
Education and witness go hand in hand when teaching children to be evangelists.
My husband and I made a conscious choice to choose a solidly Catholic, solidly scholastic education program with which to educate our children. We wanted them to see the Faith in every subject, to know it is not a one-hour-a-week- on-Sundays kind of thing.
Secondly, we model. Daily prayer, weekly Mass, and monthly confessions are all part of our lives. The Church is the center of our lives. Our kids have all helped at faith formation classes, and they have grown up seeing us teaching others the Faith. They are active in youth group, holy hours, and the yearly diocesan work camp.
Like a cup overflowing, we have seen the effects of this constant “pouring in” of Christ. Our oldest recently completed a Catholic apologetics course as part of his scouting award. He loved it, and we all learned a lot talking through it with him.
No idea is off limits to discuss in my home, and we are not afraid to spend time with others with different views. Our scout troop is heavily
Protestant, which has led to many interesting conversations and witnessing moments, both for our children and us.
One of the most memorable was when our thirteen-year-old daughter recently asked us to take her to a program at church. In her words, it was time for her to “own my own faith.” With gentle guidance, a solid foundation, and open and honest communication, evangelizing will naturally flow out of who they are, and they will all find their unique way of spreading His message.
Kristin Brown, Virginia
Evangelize with Planting Seeds…
In our family, we call evangelization “planting seeds.”
We know that we are servants who plant the seeds, but the Holy Spirit is the One who will let those seeds be fruitful. We know those seeds are those little things we do and say as Catholics that others witness from us.
We have taught our children not to be afraid of sharing their faith with their friends. We are blessed to be in a homeschool co-op that is Christian but not exclusively Catholic. One example that we give is that we make the Sign of the Cross when we come together for group prayer at lunchtime.
I speak openly with my non-Catholic friends about what we do at church and share my faith when giving advice to other members. My example shows my children how to share the Catholic faith with their friends. My teen daughter has shared with me that her non-Catholic classmate has asked her questions, to which she gave good responses.
My children have learned a lot of apologetics through the Seton Religion courses, and seeing their parents confidently share their faith with others has given them the seeds they need to plant in the garden of their friends’ souls.
Susan Brock, Virginia