'It's a family event' Dublin Archbishop wants to take communion preparation from schools
What do you think?
My son is one of the many children preparing for his First Communion.
Children are typically prepared for the sacrament, a tradition in Catholicism, through their schools.
Recently, there has been much discussion about removing religious education and sacrament preparation from schools altogether and instead, leaving it to parents and their parish.
There have been many reasons for this change including the fact that there are children of many different faiths attending schools and so, communion does not apply to everyone.
This topic was raised once again this week on Morning Ireland during an interview with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin;
"We have to get away from thinking that communion and confirmation are automatic, that during second class you make your first communion and that if you're in sixth class you make your confirmation.
"This is a process that is already underway.
"In Dublin, every parent must formally write and apply 'I want my child to make their first communion".
The subject came up for me this year as most of the children in my son's class are either non-religious or a religion other than Christian. His teacher asked me if he wanted to make his communion and I, in turn, asked him.
Even though both my husband and I made our communion, I didn't want to assume that my son would want to make his. He decided he wants to go ahead but very little prep happens in his class compared to when I was in school.
While I was in second class, time would be taken out of class every day to prepare for communion. My son on the other hand only spends half an hour of school time per week in communion prep.
Archbishop Martin says that training must begin immediately to prepare and train voluntary lay catechists in parishes to support families in preparation for sacraments such as Baptism, Confession, First Communion and Confirmation.
Mostly he wants to bring families into occasions such communion which he feels has become too commercialised and focused on spending money rather than the sacrament itself.
"We have this thing called 'Do This In Memory' where families preparing for a child's first communion come to the parish on a number of occasions.
It's a family event. It's something that children will remember for all of their lives but it's also drifting away into commercialism. I saw an advertisement for a communion dress - up to €800."
He went on to say that he feels that children will come to understand better what the undertaking of communion really means if they learn it in their home which I agree on.
I think children get their best understanding of morals, ethics and religion if they see it in their home. I also feel like having communion prep taught in the home gives parents more control over what their child is learning, which is very important.
While I would never try to impose myself over my son's teacher when it comes to things like maths or writing, I think when it comes to how our children learn to respect and treat other people, which religious education has a large foothold in, parents do have responsibilites.