School is out, the sun sets later and the weekly carpool to PSR has concluded. Typical family conversations this time of year may center on planning the next amusement park trip or securing a pool pass at parks and rec.
For parents, caregivers and as Catholic role models to youth, how frequently does the conversation around the patio table focus on living out our faith when the school or youth group is on summer hiatus?
According to research done by the Augustine Institute, building upon Catholic teachings taught in schools or parishes may feel uncomfortable and parents may not know where to turn. With the help of FORMED.org or the mobile app, creating an engaging way to teach the Catholic faith can be done even during the summer.
“Cultivating environments filled with faith amongst summer distractions does not feel like an undertaking when using FORMED. We want children to grow their faith just as they did throughout the traditional school year. Finding a resource that a child connects with can be done in a variety of avenues FORMED provides,” said Annie Esposito, regional director to parishes for FORMED.
How does it work? FORMED outlines supplemental catechesis through animated videos, family reflection questions and a selection of prayers available through audio or mobile app.
“Summer is a season that often goes by quickly in Northeast Ohio,” said Denise Smithberger, from the Office of Catechetical Formation and Education at the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. “Our office works in tandem with FORMED to share ideas packaged around faith adventures the whole family may enjoy.”
Some ideas that the Office of Catechetical Formation and Education recommends are:
- Explore ancient cities or learn about the disciples during family movie night. Take the iPad outdoors and watch under the stars by selecting video features in the categories of “Movie” or “Cartoon Mania.” Make some popcorn and learn about the life of a saint (previewed by parents for age appropriateness) or view an episode of “Ryan Defrates: Secret Agent” from the age 9-plus category.
- Enhance the bedtime routine for younger children by watching a video book from the “Brother Francis” series or the “Jesus Stories” series. Each video is 9-12 minutes long.
- Choose a theme from Y-Disciple for your teen’s sleepover so they’ll have all night to discuss it. Examples include “True Beauty” for young women or “True Strength” for young men.
- Have you planned a road trip for vacation? Consider an audio drama under the “Listen” category as a break from the usual choices. If traveling on a weekend, prepare with five-minute reflections on the Sunday Mass readings that are geared toward students. These can be found in the “Truth and Life Audio” section.
FORMED also offers parent social media groups and encourages peer and parent meet-ups. Leading and sharing as a community helps build ideas that expand future resources for families.
“After watching, reading or listening, we encourage parents to ask about their child’s day and then find an avenue to share about their own. What is similar about what you just heard and what God is doing in your life and teaching them in theirs?” Smithberger said.
Read more about FORMED or view the complete listing of summer reccomendations here.