Middle-schoolers are growing in more ways than physically. In addition to height, deepened voices and acne issues, their spiritual lives are changing and forming as well.
Following a recent national study of youth and religion, those in the archdiocese’s Division of Youth and Young Adult Ministry “are vitally aware of the role parents play in the religious upbringing of their young people,” said D. Scott Miller, coordinator of adolescent faith formation.
“Often, parents might feel ill-equipped to articulate their faith due to their own religious training,” he said.
As a result, a new program called Project Be will launch during the Easter season April 19, encouraging parents to hold conversations with their children about the beatitudes; spending time being in prayer; and how they might like to be in the future.
“The archdiocese recognizes the importance of middle-school years in a young person’s development regarding attitudes towards the church,” said Mr. Miller, who created the program, “as well as determining their vocations.”
Because the church recognizes parents as the primary religious educators of their young people, Project Be honors this by assisting parents in engaging children in faith conversations.
Written to guide parents, Project Be requires daily 10-minute conversations at home. Many of the sessions address Jesus’ Beatitudes, along with stories of saintly role models such as Mother Mary Lange, founder of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It takes a closer look at basic prayers such as Glory Be and Hail Mary, and it examines Gospel readings for upcoming liturgies. Family activities are suggested as well.
“It’s parents and their kids,” said Mr. Miller, “no permission forms, no STAND training, no cleanup.”
The Between Event will involve one mid-program parish/school-hosted gathering to allow participants to be encouraged by the presence of others.
Project Be will continue for 40 days and conclude at Pentecost (the feast commemorating the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles) with a weeklong examination of future vocations.
The archdiocese and the parishes/schools will stay in constant e-mail contact with parent catechists throughout the weeks to encourage and support their efforts.
Mr. Miller has prepared and posted a video to promote Project Be on www.mycatholicvoice.com and YouTube.
“Blessed are you,” he says in the video. “Blessed are you to take the opportunity to share faith with young people.”