By FATHER JOE MOLLOY
Special to Catholic Times
School is back in session and just as it is important for students to learn about history, math, science, literature, and all the rest, so, too, is it very important that students learn about Jesus and our Catholic faith every week in faith formation classes at parishes such as PSR, our Catholic schools, but most importantly, at home.
I want to add something very important to the idea of Catholic formation of our young people. There is nothing more important to the formation of our youth, for their growth in the Catholic faith, and their love of Jesus, than the Eucharist! Nothing! The Eucharist is the most important ritual we Catholics celebrate and do. As Vatican II said in its document on the liturgy, “The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.”
That said, I see students in our faith formation classes each week, but I don’t see them at Mass each week. I know the same is true at other parishes across our diocese that have Catholic schools. How can that be? Yes, it is great to have them at class to learn more about their faith and the Lord. But, for parents/guardians to not bring them to Mass each week is not only is a sin, but it says to children that Mass is not that necessary, doesn’t it? And nothing could be further from the truth.
That is why our diocese has special Year of the Eucharist going on now, part of the nationwide Eucharistic Revival. It is a time to focus on the centrality of the Eucharist in our faith. It is a vital part of our belief. Jesus told us at the Last Supper to “do this (the Eucharist) in memory of Me.” Yes, the Eucharist celebrates the suffering, death, and Resurrection of Jesus, and nothing is more
important than that. We need to teach our young people to obey the Lord’s command — the third Commandment of keeping holy the Sabbath Day, which means going to Mass.
May we all see the absolute necessity of the Eucharist in our lives. We receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ each time we gather. We remember how much He did for our salvation. See how easy it is to understand why the Eucharist is the summit of our faith? Ask yourself, “Is Jesus important to me?” If you answer “yes,” and I hope you do, then come visit and receive Him every Sunday. He’s there, waiting for you.
- Father Joe Molloy is pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chatham.