Faith formation and the parish


Sir, – I read with interest Anthony O’Leary’s letter (September 16th). For a long time I have felt that if the Catholic Church wants to build a thriving faith community, it needs to concentrate on building this at parish level, not in the schools. This would result in ongoing faith development into adulthood and a strengthened parish community. For many people, their faith never matures beyond the level of “school religion”, and an increasing number drop out before they even leave school. The effect of this is very evident in the numbers and age profile attending churches. Changing such long-established ways of doing things is always difficult, and I suspect it is a convenience to have religion “dealt with” by the school rather than requiring commitment and a lot of effort by parents. However, the outcome would be a much more vibrant parish life. The comparison Mr O’Leary makes with the Evangelical churches is interesting. They must be doing something right at parish level. – Yours, etc,