We can learn from our elders

Dear Editor, how do we help out children to grow in Christ? In the past, our Catholic schools helped greatly in this regard. Alas, that environment has slipped away from us. The young teacher is no longer the committed Christian of past years. The home environment of the young pupil is invaded by technology to such an extent that the person of God enters the mind and heart of our young for only just a sweeping moment on Sundays. The young parent desperately needs help. The local priestly presence is elderly and overworked and absorbed in the provision of basic priestly services to the sick and elderly.

In my years behind the Iron Curtain in communist Poland I found a well Christian-educated young person committed to his faith and its regular practice. How was this achieved when education was in the hands of a communist government and Christianity excluded from schools. The child had to give us some of its afternoon playtime a number of times weekly and attend class with the local young curate or nun. The latter were there aplenty. But the effort was a nationwide defiance of communism and both parent and child relished their part in such a Christian commitment in a godless world. Well done Poland!

How can we learn from their powerful example? We don’t have teams of young priests and religious to help the Irish child! But we do have some committed elders who could be organised to teach and encourage our young in the tenets of Christianity and the living out of it in the daily life of modern Ireland. As the grandparents move closer to their heavenly future with an all-loving God, let’s not waste time and energy trying to hold on to a failed school system. Our young would be more impressed by good living grandparents and would open their hearts and minds to God’s message. Let us halt the decline and organise good Christian elders who would lovingly lead our children into God’s arms and away from the pagan environment that has engulfed life.

Yours etc.,

Fr Domhnall De Burca

Cork City.