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Family Life Education

Family Life – What’s it all about?

Introduction

Family Life is first and foremost a “Catechesis for Healthy Relationships”. Our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II wrote an encyclical letter called “The Gospel of Life - The Theology of the Body”. He reminded us that Jesus affirms human life. We are reminded that we are all members of the Body of Christ. We are responsible for ourselves and for one another. We are called to wholeness and holiness.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to live out Gospel values in challenging times. Our world and society offer wonderful opportunities for witness and service. At the same time, however, some aspects of the culture around us place obstacles in the path of an authentic journey of faith. One important area, too often obscured by negative messages, is the understanding of human sexuality. Many of the messages being sent, both overtly and subtly, by the print and electronic media, as well as by the attitudes and actions of people, make it very difficult to appreciate the deep and wonderful understanding of human sexuality from the perspective of our Catholic faith.

Family Life is a new element added to our catechetical formation last year. It is called “Family Life” or some will use the title “Human Sexuality”. Lest someone gets the wrong idea, it is not a physiology class. We have no intention of teaching the “how to’s”. There are no diagrams, etc. Teaching the “birds and the bees” is your responsibility as parents.

What do we hope to accomplish?

Our children are exposed to “love making” or “sexual encounters” on TV either explicitly or implied. Murder, theft and adultery are acceptable practices. We sell cars and even tooth paste with sex. Our children know who Lohan and Spears are. The role models our children have leave a lot to be desired.

Our intention is provide a moral balance to what they see and hear with their peers and in the media. Private and public schools can teach the physiology and can even provide condoms to older students. But they can’t provide a moral education. They can’t talk about God and what is expected of us as Christians.

We can speak of respect for ourselves and for others – themes that are already in our primary religion text. We can encourage children – as you do- to have healthy relationships. We can remind them that they are created in God’s image.

How and When?

Family Life will be presented in the classroom the first three classes during month of January. Note that Catechists will keep parents informed and will expect parental support in completing this preparation. The catechist is opening the door for discussion. Most of that discussion should take place in the home.

“Parent Consent ” – At the time of Religious Education registration, most parents signed a paper indicating permission for the child to participate in Family Life. It is absolutely necessary that you sign this form. This tells us that you are giving your child permission to be in the classroom when “Family Life is taught. Or you will sign, forbidding participation. If parents want to “opt out”, their children will not attend classes during the first three weeks in January.

Please do read the materials and be familiar with what will be taught in your child’s grade level. If you need more time to study the child’s book, please do so. Remember that the supplemental material is primarily for the adult. If you wish to discuss any issue with us, please feel free to contact John Poland, Director of Faith Formation (410-647-4892). We will be at your service.