Director of the Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry
This is a good question and one that is asked often. The heart of the question is referring to time, asking, “How much time should my child be involved in Church activities?” The easy answer to this question is, “As much as possible.” But it is important that we explain why.
We live in a society that, in general, is of the following mind-set: “What is the minimum that I have to do to get by?” We talk about having a weekly obligation to go to Mass. People hear this and understand it to be the minimum requirement, making Sunday Mass the only interaction they have with the Church for the week. However, there is a large portion of our Catholic population, 75 percent by some surveys, who are not engaged at all, except for maybe Christmas and Easter.
Everything that we are, and everything that we do, should flow from our relationship with Christ. The traditions, the knowledge, the prayers, the sacraments are what strengthen that relationship. A couple of years ago, I was giving a talk to a confirmation class and talked a little about the importance of the Eucharist. A young man raised his hand and said, “But we see that every Sunday. There’s nothing special about it. It gets boring after a while.” My reply was, “I appreciate your honesty, but your statement begs a question. When you are in Heaven and you see Jesus for eternity, how long will it take for you to get bored with Him?” The young man had no response.
The problem is, many times, we don’t connect Heaven with our present day. Heaven is all about being with God for eternity. If that is the case, and that is our goal, then why not live out that same desire on earth?
There is a line in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” that I will never forget. The main character Harry, while professing his love to Sally, says, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start right now.” Isn’t this the case with us and God? When we realize we want to spend eternity with God, then why not start now?
How much time should my child be involved in Church activities? As much as humanly possible until we get to eternity.