Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What I didn't learn in Catholic School

I went to Catholic school from kindergarten through grade 13 (in Canada we used to have an extra grade before you could attend university). I even went to a Catholic college after university!  So, after 18 years of Catholic education you would think I would be pretty knowledgeable in my faith.  Right?


I am almost embarrassed to admit that I did not know FUNDAMENTAL things about my faith.  I did not know that the four gospels were actually the same stories told by different people.   I did not know that during the mass the bread and wine actually becomes the body and blood of our Lord.  I didn't even know what any of the prayers meant...but I could recite them all.

Now, looking back, I can't imagine that these facts were not taught in school.  Perhaps they were and they just meant nothing to me so I discarded them?  But, am I alone in this?  Can it be that after 18 years of Catholic school, I was no further in my faith than if I had gone to public school?

It wasn't until my mid twenties that religion changed for me.  My room mate from college took me to adoration.  For anyone who doesn't know (of course this included me at the time), adoration is when the consecrated host (the Eucharist) is displayed for people to pray to.  Slowly after that, the Holy Mass became something I loved.  Something I actually needed in my life, instead of somewhere I had to go on Sundays.

Sometimes I look at faithful Christians (and yup Catholics are Christians) and I admire the great love they have for Jesus.  For me, it is a slow (but steady) relationship I am trying to develop.  When I talk about Jesus to my children, I talk about Him with such excitement and joy because I want them to grow up with that love of God I admire in other Christians.

This is my primary goal for raising my children. 

Honestly, they can learn academics anywhere...whether in Catholic, public, or home school.  What I can't afford to let them miss is learning about our faith.  I want my children to have the kind of excitement of being Catholic that will evangelize others they meet!

In a special document titled "Letter to Families" Pope John Paul II writes "Parents are the first and most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area; they are educators because they are parents. You are the first and best role model for your child in these growing years.  Your role as parents to love, teach and lead your child to Jesus is a remarkable and noble vocation"

So in the coming weeks, as I plan my first year of homeschooling, I am going to keep in mind my primary goal for raising my children so that they learn what I didn't in Catholic School.


  1. No worries, you've taught me a lot! And I think our kids know more than you did, so I'd say they won't have the same problems!

  2. Your love for Jesus will be contagious! :-)

  3. OOOO!!! I too went to Catholic school (in the USA), and also did not learn much about the Bible....or having a PERSONAL relationship with Jesus. Yes, I too can recite the prayers...but had no clue what they meant. Sometimes I even just felt like a robot...going through the motions at church (but hey, I was in church, so that counted...right??? lol). I can relate to wanting to raise your children in a different manner :)

  4. It's interesting that my husband and I had a similiar experience; after attending Catholic school in the late 70's we not only knew very little of our faith but were also kind of lukewarm even though we were practising Catholics! After comparing notes we decided to dig into our faith deeper after we got married. When our first baby was school age (we had 3 by then,) we decided to homeschool! Never looked back! I began in 1990 and am still home educating our last 2 of 6! The others have gone off to university or finished, and are much better aquainted with our Faith! We are thankful we were able to homeschool.

  5. Gwen, thanks for sharing this. I am AMAZED at how much I am learning about my faith from teaching KINDERGARTEN!!! The blessings that come with digging deeper into the faith are wonderful. My greatest wish is to have my children have a relationship with God from a young age so that they don't have to struggle with it as an adult like I did.

  6. Very interesting...I was my husband (to be at the time) confirmation sponsor. We did the RICA classes together...he walked out from the classes not knowing many basics I would have hoped they'd cover--even the rosary...that being said, we do love our church, but this maybe was God's blessing for my hubby and I to spend that extra time together to learn... :) I'm glad to find a site (new visitor) with someone else Catholic...
    :) Michy