On Saturday 3rd October 2015, parents and Parent Council members from Catholic schools gathered in St Francis Xavier Hall in Carfin Lanarkshire to participate in a national assembly of Catholic school parents to address the theme: “Parents Making Sense of This Is Our Faith”. Archbishop Tartaglia, who was unable to attend because he was in Rome participating in the Synod on the Family, sent a message to all the parents who were present. He acknowledged the challenges for parents in passing on the life of faith to children and to introduce them to Sunday Mass, the Sacraments, prayer and religious practice. But he urged them not to be put off by difficulties:
“In passing on the life of faith to your children, you are giving them a treasure which they will never exhaust and which will bring them friendship with God, a great love for all people, and peace in their hearts. The life of faith is even more important now than it ever was. At times the life of faith may be a struggle but your children will bless you for the gift you have given them, the unsurpassable gift of knowing Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true light for our lives.”
(Archbishop Philip Tartgalia’s message to the Parent Assembly)
Parents were provided with some information about ‘This Is Our Faith’ and its purpose in directing what is taught through Religious Education in Scotland’s Catholic schools. They were asked to reflect on what they as parents can do to support children and young people in their “Faith learning” in school. They were asked to give their views on a draft resource which is being developed by parents for parents – to help them to make sense of ‘This Is Our Faith’.
The responses of those present were very positive and encouraging. They fully supported the idea of providing additional information and advice for parents about Religious Education and about other aspects of their children’s school experience. They suggested that every Catholic school and parish should make efforts to make links from their own websites to the SCES website which provides a great deal of information about Religious Education and many other issues relevant to parents and their children.
The SCES Parental Involvement Working Group will move on to finalise the first in a series of publications for parents which will be made available through schools, parishes and on the SCES website.