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Do you? At what point do you not?

 

First, my dh is not Catholic. He would call himself Christian (and he believes in God) but he has never been a big church attender, has never read the Bible to the children, discussed theology with them, etc. The majority of my dc's religious training has come from me.

 

Next, my oldest ds, who was Catholic, is now atheist (or maybe agnostic.) This was a complete turn around and I suspect it has something to do with his girlfriend (who is atheist as well.) I do not make him go to church when he is here (and didn't in NC either.)

 

My 11yo and 8yo sons are going through the process to join the Catholic Church. They both wanted to join and started the RCIC classes, but now neither wants to continue. The classes are boring and they don't want to go to mass anymore. They both want to "stay home and spend more time with Daddy" but that is kind of silly. Dh works until midnight on Sat. and sleeps until noon or later on Sunday - they aren't missing time with him!

 

In a situation where both parents are Christian, this is a no brainer - they can't stay home alone, so they have to go. In our home, dh *is* home so they could stay home. Should I let them? I cannot "make them" be Christian, but at what point do I let them make choices about participating?

 

I hate that this is even a question, so please be gentle. I feel as if I have failed in this, but I can only do so much, ya know? The rest is in God's hands.

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I think you need to discuss it with dh. If you present a united front insisting that the children go to church and RCIA then they go.

 

I'd at least have them finish RCIA and be in full communion with the church. That way they will always have that.

 

That will never happen - dh does not support the Catholic Church. There is no way he would make them go. Actually, if they were to go to him, he would say no to forcing them to go.

 

I guess I have a hard time with the idea of just letting them decide for themselves at such young ages.

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My husband has been Catholic all of his life. I converted to Catholicism about 5 years ago and we have always been committed to raising our children in the Church. That being said, my dh does not go to church unless I really force the issue. I do make my children go though. Unfortunately, I work all night Saturdays and it makes things difficult but I have recruited help from my MIL and my mother and sister, who have also converted, to make sure they get there. I go at a different time. I cannot take on the responsibility for my dh but I do feel it is my obligation to my children to make sure they get there. They also want to stay home plenty to play with Daddy but I have just had to make it non-negotiable. When they get older and prepare for confirmation, I may not force the issue then but I will continue with their religious education. If they have already begun the RCIC process, then I would have them continue at this point as if they change their minds later, they would not want to have to begin again and as Parrothead said, they would be in full communion with the Church and the process would be easier for them. Good luck.

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My husband has been Catholic all of his life. I converted to Catholicism about 5 years ago and we have always been committed to raising our children in the Church. That being said, my dh does not go to church unless I really force the issue. I do make my children go though. Unfortunately, I work all night Saturdays and it makes things difficult but I have recruited help from my MIL and my mother and sister, who have also converted, to make sure they get there. I go at a different time. I cannot take on the responsibility for my dh but I do feel it is my obligation to my children to make sure they get there. They also want to stay home plenty to play with Daddy but I have just had to make it non-negotiable. When they get older and prepare for confirmation, I may not force the issue then but I will continue with their religious education. If they have already begun the RCIC process, then I would have them continue at this point as if they change their minds later, they would not want to have to begin again and as Parrothead said, they would be in full communion with the Church and the process would be easier for them. Good luck.

 

Does your dh support your efforts to make them go (even when you can't get them there?) How do you make it non-negotiable if your dh is not behind you?

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I think you need to discuss it with dh. If you present a united front insisting that the children go to church and RCIA then they go.

 

I'd at least have them finish RCIA and be in full communion with the church. That way they will always have that.

 

I tend to agree. I am in much the same situation as the OP with my dh, but it's always been our family policy that I go to church, and take the kids with me, and that they are expected, by both me and dh, to go and to participate fully. And they do. I think that if it's important to you, then get dh on board so he can back you up when they argue, and make it happen. If you agree with them that the CCD classes aren't worth it, then see about homeschooling their religious ed.--it'll probably be better anyway. :) All the Catholic homeschoolers here (about 50 families!) do their religious education at home, so I know it's very do-able. The real question, it seems to me, is whether you and your dh are on the same page about it. Hope you can get it worked out they way you want--I will say a prayer for you. :grouphug:

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I don't think I'd let them decide for themselves at that age. If it were me and mine, I'd have them all go through until Easter since they are half way through the RCIA program. Will they be confirmed at Easter?

 

Yes. Except at this point my 11yo will *not* do his First Reconciliation. Without that, the rest can't happen. My 8yo doesn't have to do First Reconciliation as he has never been baptized.

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I tend to agree. I am in much the same situation as the OP with my dh, but it's always been our family policy that I go to church, and take the kids with me, and that they are expected, by both me and dh, to go and to participate fully. And they do. I think that if it's important to you, then get dh on board so he can back you up when they argue, and make it happen. If you agree with them that the CCD classes aren't worth it, then see about homeschooling their religious ed.--it'll probably be better anyway. :) All the Catholic homeschoolers here (about 50 families!) do their religious education at home, so I know it's very do-able. The real question, it seems to me, is whether you and your dh are on the same page about it. Hope you can get it worked out they way you want--I will say a prayer for you. :grouphug:

 

You cannot home school RCIA. My 2 younger dc are in Faith Formation, but they both *love* it!

 

I am not able to get dh "on board" with me. He doesn't have expectations for them to go, participate, etc. He really doesn't care as it isn't important to him, only to me. I even offered to go to really early mass and then go with him to a Protestant church with the dc and he isn't interested in that either.

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I know this may sound crazy, but would your husband go to some other church with you? For instance... Lutheran? or something?? I would bend on the church (and yes, I understand that going from Catholic to Lutheran or other is a big deal!) Anyway..... if my husband would go with me. What church would your husband be comfortable with??

 

And yes, I would insist that my children go... kindly... and with Scriptural backing... until they are 18 or so... or maybe while they are living at home...

 

Carrie:-)

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You cannot home school RCIA. My 2 younger dc are in Faith Formation, but they both *love* it!

 

I am not able to get dh "on board" with me. He doesn't have expectations for them to go, participate, etc. He really doesn't care as it isn't important to him, only to me. I even offered to go to really early mass and then go with him to a Protestant church with the dc and he isn't interested in that either.

 

My dh doesn't care either, in himself. He only cares that I care. :) Can you make your dh see that this is a REALLY BIG DEAL for you?

 

Why will your 11-y-o not make his First Penance? What is he concerned about? Do you have some good Catholic role models around you that he could spend time with? (I am just trying to brainstorm here...)

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Honestly, I think you are going to have to use the catch more flies with honey approach in a way that does an unnoticeable end run around your husband.

Decide if you want to continue in the current program or take a different approach to your children's religious education. Then think of a way to make it enticing to them. They get to do something fun on the way home that they don't normally get to do, etc. Oh, and make it a win win for your husband if you can. He gets to sleep without interuption, you stop and get him his favorite food on the way home (may be too economically prohibitive, but you get the idea.) Don't clue anyone in, even your husband. You may have to be very creative and get other's ideas.

 

I would be heistant to give up an established connection to a religious program, even if it's not the best. You may never get another one going. As you undoubtedly know with an older son, they get more ideas of their own, not less, as they get older. And less responsive to mom as an authority figure.

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Does your dh support your efforts to make them go (even when you can't get them there?) How do you make it non-negotiable if your dh is not behind you?

 

My husband doesn't really care one way or the other what they do. Fortunately, he will not undermine me when it comes to this so if I say they go, he would not say differently. If I said tomorrow that they did not have to go again it wouldn't bother him though. My dh has strong opinions about organized religion in general so it is not just a Catholic issue for him. It is very important to me so he respects that. I did get him there on Christmas day and can get him to go if I force the issue but I have just decided not to fight that battle with him.

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Do you? At what point do you not?

 

First, my dh is not Catholic. He would call himself Christian (and he believes in God) but he has never been a big church attender, has never read the Bible to the children, discussed theology with them, etc. The majority of my dc's religious training has come from me.

 

Next, my oldest ds, who was Catholic, is now atheist (or maybe agnostic.) This was a complete turn around and I suspect it has something to do with his girlfriend (who is atheist as well.) I do not make him go to church when he is here (and didn't in NC either.)

 

My 11yo and 8yo sons are going through the process to join the Catholic Church. They both wanted to join and started the RCIC classes, but now neither wants to continue. The classes are boring and they don't want to go to mass anymore. They both want to "stay home and spend more time with Daddy" but that is kind of silly. Dh works until midnight on Sat. and sleeps until noon or later on Sunday - they aren't missing time with him!

 

In a situation where both parents are Christian, this is a no brainer - they can't stay home alone, so they have to go. In our home, dh *is* home so they could stay home. Should I let them? I cannot "make them" be Christian, but at what point do I let them make choices about participating?

 

I hate that this is even a question, so please be gentle. I feel as if I have failed in this, but I can only do so much, ya know? The rest is in God's hands.

 

I'll address the educational aspect because they really stick out to me. Why are your children bored? It sounds like they are not learning anything in the RCIA classes. Having gone through it myself before getting married, I found it boring. Reading the catechism without much explanation was not too helpful. I read more on my own about theology to help myself along. Many moons later, my dh and I have found many problems with the modern Catholic church after being actively involved in all aspects and we now attend a Traditional Catholic Church. (You can PM me for more info about that journey.)

 

As far as your children go, I suspect that they do not understand the Mass nor the need for Confession. I would supplement the education at home with trying to understand the Mass and Confession. Ask your children what do they understand about church. If they really do not understand the process of becoming a Catholic and they do not really believe the Catholic teachings, then I would not make them become Catholic because they are at the age of reason. The RCIA process is voluntary. People in the program want to learn the teachings of the Church and become Catholic.

 

However, I would require them to attend Mass with you (but not let them take Communion). That is parental authority and you have every right to make them go with you.

 

Louise

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I'll address the educational aspect because they really stick out to me. Why are your children bored? It sounds like they are not learning anything in the RCIA classes. Having gone through it myself before getting married, I found it boring. Reading the catechism without much explanation was not too helpful. I read more on my own about theology to help myself along. Many moons later, my dh and I have found many problems with the modern Catholic church after being actively involved in all aspects and we now attend a Traditional Catholic Church. (You can PM me for more info about that journey.)

 

As far as your children go, I suspect that they do not understand the Mass nor the need for Confession. I would supplement the education at home with trying to understand the Mass and Confession. Ask your children what do they understand about church. If they really do not understand the process of becoming a Catholic and they do not really believe the Catholic teachings, then I would not make them become Catholic because they are at the age of reason. The RCIA process is voluntary. People in the program want to learn the teachings of the Church and become Catholic.

 

However, I would require them to attend Mass with you (but not let them take Communion). That is parental authority and you have every right to make them go with you.

 

Louise

 

They are bored because it is boring! They spend 2-3 hours every Sunday in this class and so far have gotten to Joseph in the Bible.

 

His objection to Reconciliation is that he will not tell the priest what he has done wrong. This is a child who struggles (and struggles and struggles) with perfectionism and refusing to take responsibility for his actions. The thought of going into a room with another person and telling him his sins is enough to cause him to break out in hives!;)

 

My 8yo is just plain bored. He can't read, has problems processing auditory info, and has the attention span of a flea. It is an absolute waste of time for him. He also thinks that everything in life must be fun and if it isn't fun it isn't worth doing.

 

I can't (and won't) make them join the Church, but then why go?

 

I'll admit that I am a little frustrated about Mass - I get up and get everyone ready (by myself), go to Mass (just me and the dc), sit through Mass while trying to keep the baby from screeching, the 3yo from crawling under the pew, the 7 yo from bugging his 5yo sister, and the 8yo from making a scene. If the 11yo is particularly perturbed about being there any certain Sunday, then he adds to the madness. Then comes donuts and coffee and on Sundays where they have RCIA, I spend the next 1.5 hours wasting time waiting for the older 2 to get done (they leave partway through the 9am Mass and are finished at noon.)

 

I *dread* Sundays. I imagine they can sense it as they act the *worst* at Mass than anywhere else.

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They are bored because it is boring! They spend 2-3 hours every Sunday in this class and so far have gotten to Joseph in the Bible.

 

His objection to Reconciliation is that he will not tell the priest what he has done wrong. This is a child who struggles (and struggles and struggles) with perfectionism and refusing to take responsibility for his actions. The thought of going into a room with another person and telling him his sins is enough to cause him to break out in hives!;)

 

My 8yo is just plain bored. He can't read, has problems processing auditory info, and has the attention span of a flea. It is an absolute waste of time for him. He also thinks that everything in life must be fun and if it isn't fun it isn't worth doing.

 

I can't (and won't) make them join the Church, but then why go?

 

I'll admit that I am a little frustrated about Mass - I get up and get everyone ready (by myself), go to Mass (just me and the dc), sit through Mass while trying to keep the baby from screeching, the 3yo from crawling under the pew, the 7 yo from bugging his 5yo sister, and the 8yo from making a scene. If the 11yo is particularly perturbed about being there any certain Sunday, then he adds to the madness. Then comes donuts and coffee and on Sundays where they have RCIA, I spend the next 1.5 hours wasting time waiting for the older 2 to get done (they leave partway through the 9am Mass and are finished at noon.)

 

I *dread* Sundays. I imagine they can sense it as they act the *worst* at Mass than anywhere else.

That sounds horrible. Have you got another parish near by? Have you talked to the RCIA director?

 

Before we moved across the state in September, I was our parish PCL. I put three kid classes through to confirmation. These classes shouldn't' be boring.

 

What are they doing every Sunday for 2-3 hours? Is this just RCIA class? If it is, it isn't right.

 

Has your priest talked to your 11-year old about first reconciliation?

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They are bored because it is boring! They spend 2-3 hours every Sunday in this class and so far have gotten to Joseph in the Bible.

 

His objection to Reconciliation is that he will not tell the priest what he has done wrong. This is a child who struggles (and struggles and struggles) with perfectionism and refusing to take responsibility for his actions. The thought of going into a room with another person and telling him his sins is enough to cause him to break out in hives!;)

 

My 8yo is just plain bored. He can't read, has problems processing auditory info, and has the attention span of a flea. It is an absolute waste of time for him. He also thinks that everything in life must be fun and if it isn't fun it isn't worth doing.

 

I can't (and won't) make them join the Church, but then why go?

 

I'll admit that I am a little frustrated about Mass - I get up and get everyone ready (by myself), go to Mass (just me and the dc), sit through Mass while trying to keep the baby from screeching, the 3yo from crawling under the pew, the 7 yo from bugging his 5yo sister, and the 8yo from making a scene. If the 11yo is particularly perturbed about being there any certain Sunday, then he adds to the madness. Then comes donuts and coffee and on Sundays where they have RCIA, I spend the next 1.5 hours wasting time waiting for the older 2 to get done (they leave partway through the 9am Mass and are finished at noon.)

 

I *dread* Sundays. I imagine they can sense it as they act the *worst* at Mass than anywhere else.

 

Is there another Catholic Church nearby? First, your son can go to a priest whom he does not know, which might make him more comfortable. Or, if there is a penance service, see if he can do his first reconciliation there.

 

The second reason I suggest checking out another Catholic church is that the RCIA program might be different. I went through it last year (I was baptised and had 1St Eucharist in the Catholic church but was never confirmed) and we met for 1 to 2 hours on Wed. evenings. Another church might have a program more suitable for kids. Our RCIA program was definitely adult oriented and would have bored a child to tears, but at least it was not 3 hours.

 

Third, another church might have a nursery during mass, so you can at least get more out of it.

 

Finally, I suggest you speak to your priest about your concerns. He will be able to guide you on how to proceed. Also, talk to the person in your parish who is in charge of faith formation. There are alternatives and with the okay of your priest, that person might be able to make some changes for your kids.

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Do you? At what point do you not?

 

In a situation where both parents are Christian, this is a no brainer - they can't stay home alone, so they have to go. In our home, dh *is* home so they could stay home. Should I let them? I cannot "make them" be Christian, but at what point do I let them make choices about participating?

 

I hate that this is even a question, so please be gentle. I feel as if I have failed in this, but I can only do so much, ya know? The rest is in God's hands.

 

My Dh doesn't attend church but is Catholic. Our twins are in confirmation class (1st year) and I homestudy our younger two (they did 1st Reconciliation and 1st Communion last year). We do not attend mass every week. But when I go... the kids go. Period. No argument allowed. Dh backs me up on this and assists in their Catholic lessons. We promised at each of the kids Baptism to teach our children the Catholic Faith and that is exactly what we are doing. I converted to Catholicism when twins were in 2nd grade and going for their 1st Communion.

 

The twins are required to attend confirmation classes and attend mass when I go. But they will not be required to take the final step in being confirmed unless they choose to do so. Once that time comes, they will not be required to attend mass. They will be 16yrs old then and Dh and I feel that they will be old enough to make that choice. The younger two will continue with their Catholic lessons and attending mass with me until they finish their confirmation classes at 16yrs old also.

 

We did not require our niece/nephews (who we raised the last 12 yrs) to attend RE classes. Neither were baptized and at their ages when they first came to us was old enough that they would have to attend RCIA classes and not the children classes. So they just attended mass with me until they were 16 and then it was up to them to choose. Niece is considering taking RCIA classes. Neither nephews want anything to do with religion at this time.

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You cannot home school RCIA. My 2 younger dc are in Faith Formation, but they both *love* it!

 

I am not able to get dh "on board" with me. He doesn't have expectations for them to go, participate, etc. He really doesn't care as it isn't important to him, only to me. I even offered to go to really early mass and then go with him to a Protestant church with the dc and he isn't interested in that either.

 

 

I homeschool our kids for religious education that is offered through a Catholic church.

 

Our twins attended a church RE program from 1st-4th grade. Then we changed churches but didn't continue the RE as it just wasn't possible at that time. Younger two didn't attend RE at all in a formal setting.

 

Then when twins were in 6th grade I found out about a Catholic church in another town (in same diocese) offered homestudy RE program through 8th grade. So we started our twins in the homestudy program in January of their 6th grade. We completed the year worth program by July and continued the next year. For 8th grade I signed them up for a class in hopes that the class would stay together for confirmation years (9th/10th grades) but that didn't happened. Our twins are in a different group of students for confirmation classes.

 

The younger two started homestudy RE when Ds2 was 3rd grade and Ds3 was in 1st grade. They both did 1st Reconciliation and 1st Communion last year. I will homestudy them until 7th or 8th grade.

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Is there another Catholic Church nearby? First, your son can go to a priest whom he does not know, which might make him more comfortable. Or, if there is a penance service, see if he can do his first reconciliation there.

 

The second reason I suggest checking out another Catholic church is that the RCIA program might be different. I went through it last year (I was baptised and had 1St Eucharist in the Catholic church but was never confirmed) and we met for 1 to 2 hours on Wed. evenings. Another church might have a program more suitable for kids. Our RCIA program was definitely adult oriented and would have bored a child to tears, but at least it was not 3 hours.

 

Third, another church might have a nursery during mass, so you can at least get more out of it.

 

Finally, I suggest you speak to your priest about your concerns. He will be able to guide you on how to proceed. Also, talk to the person in your parish who is in charge of faith formation. There are alternatives and with the okay of your priest, that person might be able to make some changes for your kids.

 

There's is an RCIA for children specifically - there is another class for the adults.

 

I think I do need to go talk to the priest.

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I know this may sound crazy, but would your husband go to some other church with you? For instance... Lutheran? or something?? I would bend on the church (and yes, I understand that going from Catholic to Lutheran or other is a big deal!) Anyway..... if my husband would go with me. What church would your husband be comfortable with??

 

And yes, I would insist that my children go... kindly... and with Scriptural backing... until they are 18 or so... or maybe while they are living at home...

 

Carrie:-)

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

 

I was in a similar situation with similar age children many years ago. Long story short.....my older children will not attend a Catholic Church under any circumstances.

 

We found a church that dh attends and ENJOYS. The younger children love it. The older kids attend with us when they are home. It was absolutely the best decision for us.

 

It has taken nearly 10 years to repair the damage of a few months of RCIA classes for my older children.

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They are bored because it is boring! They spend 2-3 hours every Sunday in this class and so far have gotten to Joseph in the Bible.

 

His objection to Reconciliation is that he will not tell the priest what he has done wrong. This is a child who struggles (and struggles and struggles) with perfectionism and refusing to take responsibility for his actions. The thought of going into a room with another person and telling him his sins is enough to cause him to break out in hives!;)

 

My 8yo is just plain bored. He can't read, has problems processing auditory info, and has the attention span of a flea. It is an absolute waste of time for him. He also thinks that everything in life must be fun and if it isn't fun it isn't worth doing.

 

I can't (and won't) make them join the Church, but then why go?

 

I'll admit that I am a little frustrated about Mass - I get up and get everyone ready (by myself), go to Mass (just me and the dc), sit through Mass while trying to keep the baby from screeching, the 3yo from crawling under the pew, the 7 yo from bugging his 5yo sister, and the 8yo from making a scene. If the 11yo is particularly perturbed about being there any certain Sunday, then he adds to the madness. Then comes donuts and coffee and on Sundays where they have RCIA, I spend the next 1.5 hours wasting time waiting for the older 2 to get done (they leave partway through the 9am Mass and are finished at noon.)

 

I *dread* Sundays. I imagine they can sense it as they act the *worst* at Mass than anywhere else.

 

 

My oldest Ds didn't feel that he had anything to "confess" at his first confession. It wasn't a problem for the priest. Ds was attending a special ed class for his 4th grade year. Ds went to confession and the priest worked with Ds. Ds1 has Asperger Syndrome. Lets just say he gave the priest a challenge-LOL.

 

Last year our younger two did their 1st Confession. Youngest is dx on autism spectrum also. Ds and I met with priest a few days before scheduled 1st Confession. I told priest that Ds likely does not understand and wouldn't probably confess anything but would instead talk about his latest video game or TV show obession. The Priest said no problem. He will deal with it and if that is how it goes then he will bless Ds.

 

I won't make my kids join the church (completing confirmation) but they will learn about Catholicism and be raised in the Church. So they will go until they complete their 2nd year of confirmation class.

 

I relate to the difficulties of getting all the kids ready for mass and dealing with them at mass. Since Dh refused to attend mass... he stayed home with the younger kids until the kids were old enough to attend RE classes. That was just how it was. I would take the school age kids to mass with me, and the youngers stayed home with Dh. The youngers would only attend mass on Easter and Christmas.

 

I have attended two previous churches, before finding the one we attend now, and that was painful in trying to meet my kids special needs. The Church we attend has a Special Needs Coordinator. I have been encouraged and supported by the church we now attend and they offer homestudy RE program (they give me assistance every step of the way).

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:iagree::iagree::iagree:

 

I was in a similar situation with similar age children many years ago. Long story short.....my older children will not attend a Catholic Church under any circumstances.

 

We found a church that dh attends and ENJOYS. The younger children love it. The older kids attend with us when they are home. It was absolutely the best decision for us.

 

It has taken nearly 10 years to repair the damage of a few months of RCIA classes for my older children.

 

No, my dh is not interested in attending anywhere, so it is the Catholic Church with me or nothing. I cannot simply switch churches, but I am willing to attend with dh at another church.

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I say don't force them. Ask your DH why he won't go. Odds are he was forced as a child to attend even when he didn't want to. It sounds like you are doing some religious ed at home with them so they are learning the Bible from you. If they choose to believe in it and wish to find a spiritual home somewhere, they will let you know.

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I dont think that 11 and 8 year old children are capable of making their own decisions about things like this. I'm sure that all children go through a period of not wanting to attend church. Just like PS children go through a period of not wanting to attend school.

 

My DD5 loves soccer but sometimes does not want to go to soccer practice. I remember doing this as a child. There were phases I went through where I didn't want to go to church, or to softball practice, or to karate. I think it is just something that kids do.

 

You are kind of in a tough place because your DH will not back you up. If it were my kids, it would just be tough luck, they would still be attending. Of course they are bored, kids want action LOL. This period in time will end and hopefully they will enjoy attending church again.

 

I would sit your DH down and talk to him, explain how important it is to you for them to attend, and ask him to please present a united front to them on this.

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Can you have the 11yo and 8yo step back from RCIA for a while and have them attend the regular RE program with same-aged kids? If your younger kids love the RE classes, maybe that would be a good "holding" spot for the older two until they are ready and willing to join RCIA again. At the worst, they would learn about the Catholic church and being a Christian. I can't see why the DRE would have a problem with them in the regular RE classes. I'm sure it's not common for kids to skip to the middle, but I can't think of why it would be against the rules.

 

My RCIA experience left a lot to be desired, so I completely understand where your dc are coming from.

 

I look at it like this - my kids go to church every Sunday. They hear the mass every week. Everywhere we go, we can find the same mass. They are automatically at home in any Catholic church. The sights, sounds, smells, and rituals of the mass are becoming a part of their souls just by sitting in the pews every.single.week. Every three years they will have had the entire bible read to them. We sit in the front pew, and I deal with the toddlers, and it's not easy, fun, or enjoyable. We attend without dh about 1/2 the time as he is either serving in the reserves or serving as a lector. You know what though? When I'm in the back with a naughty toddler, my 7yo and 5yo sit in the front by themselves and they participate without me. You can do it!!! :grouphug:

 

ETA: When my dh was in Iraq, I attended a church which had a nursery. That was a lifesaver. Maybe you can find a church with a nursery or even a cry room? The cry room is a great thing if you have a crawler or new toddler and other littles to watch as well.

Edited by 2squared
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Not RC, only recently chrismated Orthodox, and not in your divided situation with hubby....but many hugs and prayers for you; I can only imagine how difficult this must be. I would definitely take the others' advice and speak with your spiritual father. And these classes really should not be dragged out boredom. Your sons' individual personalities may need to be mentioned so there is more understanding. Question: does your parish have an active youth dept? I know that can play a helpful role as well.

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:grouphug: I understand that your DH won't go to Mass with you, but is there any way that he would back you on the basis that he is unwilling to assume spiritual responsibility for the kids and take them himself? Even when my DH wasn't going to Mass with us, he would back me with the kids as an issue of respect and discipline.

 

With the issues with your DH, I don't think, in your situation, that I would push too hard for RCIC. I would talk to the priest and look around for other options, and I would insist that as minors living in my house, they attend Mass with me. They will be receiving spiritual benefits and religious instruction from the Mass, even if they aren't able to receive communion. Those graces will be there anyhow.

 

If at all possible, I would try to find time for you to get away and seek Jesus in adoration and make sure you are going to confession frequently. You can't give what you don't have, and I am guessing that as busy as you are, you may be neglecting yourself in this too.

 

:grouphug:

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My father wasn't Catholic. We were expected to attend Mass every week.

 

My husband is not Catholic and he has lots of different issues with religion. But we decided when we were married that we wanted our children to have a religious foundation and I'm Catholic so it was naturally Catholic. If when our DD is older and she decides that she doesn't want to be Catholic, that will be her choice. But my DH supports her going to church now, not because he supports the Catholic Church, but because he supports me.

 

Could you give them the option of going to church or reading a chapter of a church history book? I had a neighbor growing up who joined the marines and found that in basic training she always attended church. It was the only hour that she could completely relax and knew nothing would be demanded of her (pop inspections etc). Leave it to a marine Sargent to make church appealing.

 

Good luck.

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My dh believes in God, but doesn't *know* Him, at least not the way I do. He doesn't generally attend church. Our 12yods knows God, and loves him, but hates church. He knows his Bible well. He gets little or nothing out of his SS class (knows the answers to the questions, and hates the speed-scripture games and the crafts). He is bored during the worship service. He doesn't do well with the whole sitting-still thing (one of the main reasons he doesn't go to school). I could see how forcing him to go to church every week would turn him away from God. I don't equate loving God with church attendance. He stays home with his dad.

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Do you? At what point do you not?

 

 

I do. My family converted to Catholicism, even though not all of us were on board with it. We were required to attend church and Religious Education through Confirmation preparation. If, after Confirmation prep, we ("the children") did not desire to become Confirmed, we were not coerced or forced to attend any more church or RE.

 

BUT while we still lived in our parents' house we were expected to seek out or participate in another "church" - some of us reverted back to our pre-conversion faith, some of us followed different spiritual journeys, and some of us just went ahead and kept attending Catholic mass except we'd meditate privately during the service and pass on Communion. We basically went because we were expected to go SOMEwhere and at least it was familiar and our parents bought brunch afterwards. This is how it will be in my home, with my kids as well. I'm not particular on the faith they choose, but I expect them to actively seek out or participate in some kind of spiritual journey or religious activity.

 

So in your shoes, I'd expect the 15 and under set to keep attending church with me - even if Dad doesn't. My kids' dad doesn't so I know how challenging that can be. He is a very disillusioned cradle Catholic who leans towards my family's original (non-Christian) faith, though he doesn't actively practice it so much as he just subscribes to the theories of it. I just tell the kids that Dad is of an age and experience where he can explore other belief systems (even if that belief is "meditating" at the range every Sunday while the kids and I are at mass). And after Confirmation prep, they too will be of an appropriate age and experience.

 

Despite that, however, I would have no problems encouraging an under 15 child to research and examine other faiths - visiting holy places, reading up, et cetera. It would just be in addition to rather than in place of ... weekly mass and religious education (which we homeschool). I'd also have no problem at all if they chose to meditate quietly or otherwise sit respectfully during my mass rather than actively participate in the Catholic traditions.

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They are bored because it is boring! They spend 2-3 hours every Sunday in this class and so far have gotten to Joseph in the Bible.

 

His objection to Reconciliation is that he will not tell the priest what he has done wrong. This is a child who struggles (and struggles and struggles) with perfectionism and refusing to take responsibility for his actions. The thought of going into a room with another person and telling him his sins is enough to cause him to break out in hives!;)

 

My 8yo is just plain bored. He can't read, has problems processing auditory info, and has the attention span of a flea. It is an absolute waste of time for him. He also thinks that everything in life must be fun and if it isn't fun it isn't worth doing.

 

I can't (and won't) make them join the Church, but then why go?

 

I'll admit that I am a little frustrated about Mass - I get up and get everyone ready (by myself), go to Mass (just me and the dc), sit through Mass while trying to keep the baby from screeching, the 3yo from crawling under the pew, the 7 yo from bugging his 5yo sister, and the 8yo from making a scene. If the 11yo is particularly perturbed about being there any certain Sunday, then he adds to the madness. Then comes donuts and coffee and on Sundays where they have RCIA, I spend the next 1.5 hours wasting time waiting for the older 2 to get done (they leave partway through the 9am Mass and are finished at noon.)

 

I *dread* Sundays. I imagine they can sense it as they act the *worst* at Mass than anywhere else.

 

What is the goal for you?

 

If you want them to be officially Roman Catholic, (recognizing that they may not actually stick with it through adulthood), then you need to insist they go. Whether they have faith or not isn't really in your control... but attending weekly is.

 

If you want to have a peaceful time of worship, then you need to leave the kids with husband or a babysitter.

 

If you want them to have a more child-appropriate church experience and avoid the first communion issue, I'd suggest finding an Episcopal or Lutheran church with an active Sunday School (look for Godly Play - it's really cool).

Edited by Momling
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There are a lot of things young children don't want to do, like eat their vegetables and brush their teeth and take a bath, but we make them because it is what we know is best for them. I went to church 3 times a week from birth until I was 16yo. There were MANY times I didn't want to go but it was never even up for discussion.

 

When I was 16yo my parents let me choose and I walked away from church. Sound like a horror story? It wasn't. Because I came back. All that I learned from my parents and from going to church never left me and when I matured I went back.

 

I am SO GRATEFUL that my parents did not let me make my own decision when I was a child. My kids will go to church until they are out on their own and then it is their decision.

 

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6). I am living proof of that verse!

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Renee,

 

I'm sure you know all of this already, but this is something that I think may be a helpful reminder to you, given the ages of your children. I think that sometimes we forget what an awesome responsibility it is the Church is asking a person to take on. As adults, sometimes people are able to "see" it, sometimes not (caught up in the moment or whatever). As children, I think, barring complete obedience to whatever their parent is telling them to do in the religious realm, they sometimes honestly get a... feeling... that they are not really ready to take on this responsibility. And I think that they express it through the actions that you describe (which are not at all uncommon).

 

I found some bits off of the Vatican's website that express the sheer *scope* of what is being asked of a person when they accept confirmation into the Church:

 

1308 Although Confirmation is sometimes called the "sacrament of Christian maturity," we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need "ratification" to become effective. St. Thomas reminds us of this:

 

Age of body does not determine age of soul. Even in childhood man can attain spiritual maturity: as the book of Wisdom says: "For old age is not honored for length of time, or measured by number of years. "Many children, through the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have bravely fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood.

 

1309 Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit - his actions, his gifts, and his biddings - in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life. To this end catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community. The latter bears special responsibility for the preparation of confirmands.

 

1310 To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of grace. One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit. More intense prayer should prepare one to receive the strength and graces of the Holy Spirit with docility and readiness to act.

 

[...]

 

1315 "Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:14-17).

 

1316 Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.

 

1317 Confirmation, like Baptism, imprints a spiritual mark or indelible character on the Christian's soul; for this reason one can receive this sacrament only once in one's life.

 

1318 In the East this sacrament is administered immediately after Baptism and is followed by participation in the Eucharist; this tradition highlights the unity of the three sacraments of Christian initiation. In the Latin Church this sacrament is administered when the age of reason has been reached, and its celebration is ordinarily reserved to the bishop, thus signifying that this sacrament strengthens the ecclesial bond.

 

1319 A candidate for Confirmation who has attained the age of reason must profess the faith, be in the state of grace, have the intention of receiving the sacrament, and be prepared to assume the role of disciple and witness to Christ, both within the ecclesial community and in temporal affairs.

 

In short, one is asking a child to make a very important decision that will effect every aspect of their life, at a very young age. That is heavy stuff.

 

I have met people who have baptized their children in the Catholic Church yet had absolutely no clue that they had just made a pact/agreement, whatever you wish to call it - to raise their child in. the. church. None. They just thought "oh, you baptize a baby" - w/o thinking of what that meant.

 

I am in no way saying you don't know what confirmation or baptism means. You apparently do, which is why you are so distressed. But I'm betting that somewhere within your children's minds, they, too, know. And perhaps they don't feel ready to take on the responsibility just yet. They have had a LOT of change in their lives; this may be one too many right now. Not always, just right now.

 

HTH

 

 

a

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I haven't read all the responses, but I'll tell you my personal experience.

 

I was your child. My mom was a committed Catholic, dad was brought up Presbyterian but never went to church when he was an adult, other than Christmas and Easter to Catholic church with my mom, brother, and me.

 

When I was a teenager I decided that I didn't want to go to Catholic church any more. Mom said that, until I was 18yo it was her responsibility to make me go to church. After that I could make my own decision. I was a very compliant child, so I continued to go to church even though I got nothing out of it spiritually.

 

Of course, when I turned 18yo, I stopped going. I went away to college right after turning 18, so it was an easy thing to stop going to church at the same time. Anyway, a year later I decided that I wanted to go to church again because I really wanted to learn about God. I went to Catholic church for a few weeks before I was reminded why I had disliked my old church so much. The 10 minute sermonettes were not actually teaching my about God, they were just little social commentaries. So I stopped going again.

 

A couple of years after that I was living in Florida. My cousin had just become a born again Christian and with her I started searching for a church. Long story short, I gave my life to the Lord and am now a pastor's wife. Dh and I have been on the mission field in England for 9 years and we spent nearly a year in Moscow before that. We're not in the Catholic church, and I think my mom still regrets that, but we are Christians. So take some comfort from knowing that just because your kids walk away for a time, doesn't mean they're lost forever.

 

Looking back I think it was a bit of a waste to continue going to the Catholic church in my teenage years when I wasn't the least bit interested, but I also think your dc are a bit young to decide for themselves. I would continue making them go to the classes and tell them that when they are (you pick the age) 13yo? 16yo? they can make their own decision. How old was your oldest when he stopped going to church?

 

eta: I just read your post with more info about the classes. I wouldn't make an 8yo & 11yo sit through 2-3 hour classes. I'd send them to regular CCD classes and make them go to mass with you. Can you bring coloring books for everyone so they have something to do while they sit in mass? That might make the entire experience better for all of you. Or maybe those little felt story books?

Edited by MeganP
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Raising kids in the church can be hard! I feel for you. I regularly consider dropping our church attendance (since I'm the parent in charge, as you are) but somehow I keep on going.

 

I think if I were in your situation, I'd drop the RCIA program for your oldest two. Talk to the DRE about it, and point out that your kids are bored to the point of feeling driven AWAY from the church. Don't let the DRE dangle the sacraments as a carrot -- your kids aren't worried about receiving them despite attending RCIA, so it's not a factor in this decision. Be clear and honest about where you're at -- it sounds like you're very concerned about your children's religious formation, but that their needs aren't being met. While you won't be able to homeschool RCIA, your DRE might be able to send home some materials for you to keep up the faith-education aspect. Or maybe regular religious ed would be more interesting. But your DRE might have other ideas -- some DREs can be very accommodating, especially if it's clear that you're making an honest effort. If they don't have other ideas, then there are other folks out there homeschooling their religious ed, and you can probably find something appropriate out there. If nothing else, you can read the Chronicles of Narnia and discuss them :).

 

About the Mass experience -- do you take a special bag of activities to keep the younger kids occupied? It's best to have certain enticing (quiet) activities that are special for during Mass. Or maybe your DRE would be willing to help you rustle up a Confirmation candidate (teenager) who needs service hours and could help you with your energetic brood during church? When I ran Confirmation, I had several students who would've jumped at the chance of checking off service hours while being at Mass at the same time.

 

In our family, I tend to consider the most important religious formation as occurring in the home. We make a special effort to say meal prayers and to celebrate various religious holidays. We also try to incorporate our favorite church songs into our life at home, so we'll sing them while washing dishes, putting the kids to bed, doing the laundry, or whatever. We do observe some saints' days through the year, so that adds some spice. We'll also retell the biblical stories at appropriate times -- with younger kids, I tend to skip old testament stories, but during Advent we talk about the Annunciation and the Visitation, and at Christmas we tell the nativity stories. In Lent, we talk about the Last Supper, and in Easter we talk about the Resurrection. During Ordinary Time, we might talk about some parables, but mostly we relax ;).

 

My husband actually left the Church when he was 11yo. His mom is devout Catholic, but his dad is in a New Age cult (really.) They divorced early in dh's life, and my husband would spend the school year with his mom and attend Catholic school, and summers with his dad. As you can imagine, the New Age stuff introduced some interesting ideas, and when my husband would ask them of the nuns at school, he wouldn't get answers but would get reprimanded. His questions were actually fairly reasonable, but it takes some knowledge of theology to be able to answer them well. So he told his mom that he wouldn't go back to church. She sat him down and demanded "ok, fine, I understand that you don't believe the teachings of the Church. But you will tell me right now what you DO believe." And they discussed and argued about it for hours that night (I've heard the story from both of them -- it sounded grueling).

 

Since your oldest is flirting with atheism, it might make sense (if you do a sit-down conversation with him) to approach it from a humanistic standpoint. You might ask "how can you tell right from wrong?" as an excellent starting place. And "I just know" is not a good enough answer. If he's not going to follow the guidelines of the Church, he is going to need to have some kind of ethical grounding to stand on and make decisions from as he gets older. So it really DOES matter that he be able to defend and define his views. It could be a continuing conversation, covering all sorts of ethical issues. Maybe look at the lyrics of the music he listens to, and talk about the issues it brings up. Right/wrong, good/bad, healthy/unhealthy, creative/destructive are a few categories to think about. Or talk about the TV shows or movies he watches.

 

Good luck. These decisions sure aren't easy to make.

:grouphug:

Anabel

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She sat him down and demanded "ok, fine, I understand that you don't believe the teachings of the Church. But you will tell me right now what you DO believe." And they discussed and argued about it for hours that night (I've heard the story from both of them -- it sounded grueling).

 

Since your oldest is flirting with atheism, it might make sense (if you do a sit-down conversation with him) to approach it from a humanistic standpoint. You might ask "how can you tell right from wrong?" as an excellent starting place. And "I just know" is not a good enough answer. If he's not going to follow the guidelines of the Church, he is going to need to have some kind of ethical grounding to stand on and make decisions from as he gets older. So it really DOES matter that he be able to defend and define his views. It could be a continuing conversation, covering all sorts of ethical issues. Maybe look at the lyrics of the music he listens to, and talk about the issues it brings up. Right/wrong, good/bad, healthy/unhealthy, creative/destructive are a few categories to think about. Or talk about the TV shows or movies he watches.

 

Good luck. These decisions sure aren't easy to make.

:grouphug:

Anabel

 

I think this is SO important.

 

I knew (still know) a girl growing up whose parents chose not to give her any religious instruction (though they were both raised Catholic). They are good people, if a bit new-agey whack. She struggled for a LONG time. I'm not saying that she struggled from lack of religion, mind you, but rather from the lack of a grounding in SOMETHING. At the time I was growing up, in the particular area/culture I was raised (as was she), religion was pretty much *it*.

 

IMO, in the absence of 'religion' in society, a parent needs to offer an *other* to a child - and I don't much care what that *other* is, as long as it is consistent, firm, and gives the child a foundation upon which to form their worldview (I hate that term, but, whatever). Kids don't do well floating about in space, and kids who spend their childhood doing so seem to have a dreadful time operating as grown-ups.

 

JMO

 

 

a

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My 8yo is just plain bored. He can't read, has problems processing auditory info, and has the attention span of a flea.

 

I think this is your key to accommodation. Tell the DRE and pastor that you have made an effort but because of your dc's learning disabilities this is not working and they need individual instruction in much smaller chunks. Offer to do it yourself. Offer to let them try regular religious ed classes with you filling in the gaps for RCIC. Offer to let their sponsor teach them.

 

If this does not work, find a much smaller church (too small to have a regular RCIA program, let alone a RCIC program).

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I have not read any of the posts, but here, if our kids live with us, they go to church. Its just that important. They can do as their conscience leads when they move out, and hopefully, that will be to continue in a relationship with the Lord.

 

But you live at home, you go to church.

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My children have to go to church including my adult children who all live at home. The adult kids can go to a church of their own choosing and not the same as us, but as long as they live here they have to attend church. They can choose to move out and stop going if they want. Sounds cold but I have a lot of little kids watching every move my older kids make.

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Thanks for all the input everyone.

 

I talked to dh about it when he got home last night and he just isn't sure whether to make them go or not. On one hand, they are very young, but on the other hand, "the Catholic Church *is* boring!":glare: :D

 

You've given me a lot to think about and pray about. I plan to make an appointment to see one of the priests this week and discuss this with him. For right now, they are going to go and they will participate in our at home activities.

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Chiming in late.

 

We're not Catholic, but I do have a DH who doesn't attend church and kids who don't want to go.

 

For us, kids younger than 12 have to go to church with me. From 12-16, they have to go twice a month. After 16 (not there yet), I will only require once a month.

 

I had intended to require confirmation class (in our church that comes around 12-13), but changed my mind. My oldest does not believe in God. Although our church does not force the kids to be confirmed if they take the class, he is so far away from belief that it would not be helpful and might be counterproductive.

 

Due to switching faiths when our kids were young, they are also not baptized. (The church we came from didn't perform infant baptisms.)

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My children have to go to church including my adult children who all live at home. The adult kids can go to a church of their own choosing and not the same as us, but as long as they live here they have to attend church. They can choose to move out and stop going if they want. Sounds cold but I have a lot of little kids watching every move my older kids make.

 

This makes me chortle.

 

I am the youngest of 4. My mom has always had the "as long as you're living under my roof..." law.

 

Well, I was the FIRST to go out on my own. A few years later, during a visit, one of my sisters was grumbling about something I had done (it actually had nothing to do with religion), and I pointed out that I had fulfilled the "move out, get a job, pay my own bills, etc. etc." criteria.

 

I got a dirty look.

 

 

a

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I have not read the other posts yet but will later. I wanted to write while your thoughts were fresh to me.

Please don't be imbarressed, I too am having this problem with my 13 yr. old son.

He was in a Private Christian School from K-6 and then for 7th and 8th he started attending a local Middle school. That is where it all changed!!

I cannot get him to go to church as well. I was letting him stay home but then my oldest Dd said "we have to get him to church". So, I started making him, and he groans!!

I think he groaned most of the one service one sunday, but then I turned and gave him a look that could have killed! He pulled back and didn't say a word the rest of the service. After it was over, he said; "that was actually pretty good"!

I had the look of SHOCK!!

He and I have had some private conversations and he told me that he invited the devil in, so we had to pray out loud to get rid of him.

I am not worried at all, I too did the same thing at his age and I truely regret it. I think it's just a way of looking for attention and the whole trying to find yourself in life.

I am gonna keep making him go to church and try to find ways to get him involved in volunteer work.

I guess if I were you, keep making him go, I think it will pay off in the end.

They will come around and they will be dragging their children to church someday too! LOL

Don't give up, I'm not! Also, keep praying about it. God will always be there to help us thru it.

HTH

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Well our family is like this, except that it is my dh who is Catholic and I'm a non-church going Protestant. I went to church with him for 13 years, but after both my kids were able to take communion and I was not, I quit going. I don't really care if my kids go to church regularly with him, I would much prefer we all find a different church where I would feel comfortable so we could all go together. My dh has made it perfectly clear that that's not going to happen. He has also expressed to me how important it is that the kids are raised Catholic, so I suport him on it even though I would prefer not to. When the kids fuss that they don't want to go to church, I don't cave in because I know it's important to my dh. Perhaps if you had a talk to your dh about how important it is to you, maybe you could get his support. Otherwise, have you considered finding a church that he would be willing to go to with you? I would cry tears of joy if my dh would consider a different church.

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:grouphug:

 

Thanks for all the input everyone.

 

I talked to dh about it when he got home last night and he just isn't sure whether to make them go or not. On one hand, they are very young, but on the other hand, "the Catholic Church *is* boring!":glare: :D

 

You've given me a lot to think about and pray about. I plan to make an appointment to see one of the priests this week and discuss this with him. For right now, they are going to go and they will participate in our at home activities.

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Renee,

 

I applaud you for your dedication to your faith and to bringing up your children in the faith.

 

I grew up very bored in church, but it believe it was because of the poor catechesis I received (despite going to Catholic school) and because I belonged to a rather spiritually dead parish (wracked by some scandalous priests.) I left the church (well, all organized religion) in college and returned when I met my husband. I decided that my kids were going to have a better experience than I did. When my children were little, I would whisper in the ears of my toddlers explaining what was going on in the mass. It helped with them look forward to certain parts of the mass and they learned a reverence for the Eucharist.

 

As they got older, I would pre-read the Sunday readings with them and give them a little commentary. There used to be a fantastic website called Open Wednesday, which had a commentary on the readings designed for children. Plus it had activity ideas to make these themes come alive. Unfortunately, this website has been down for a year. I wish I could find something to replace it. I have had to rely on my own Bible study experience to help the readings come alive for them.

 

I know that there are a couple books written for Catholic parents about helping the mass come alive and living the faith year round, but I can't seem to find the titles. I had borrowed them from friends and returned them. If anyone knows these books, please post the titles.

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