Mariella Catania – a mother, shares how intergenerational catechesis has helped her grow in faith and experience sharing faith with other families.
One of the ‘signature statements’ that tend to feature in a discussion between new parents or parents of young children is: ‘Since becoming parents, our lives have been changed completely’. Changes happen on different levels, ranging from time constraints, to disturbed sleep, to different (if existent!) leisure and holiday plans and so on and so forth. What I found truly interesting is how details that did not catch my attention prior to becoming a mother, slowly but surely became some of the details that determined my plans and schedules. Will there be a highchair? Can we take milk and hot water on the flight with us? Will these people be annoyed if I breastfeed at the party? Does the Church have a crying room? These are some of the ‘default’ questions that pop up in many parent’s mind before leaving home.
Whereas before it was about getting excited over the newly opened romantic restaurant, the same level of excitement is now present on discovering a new ‘child-friendly’ restaurant where the children can freely play whilst the parents can enjoy a hot cup of coffee.
Having been involved in Church groups and organisations for years, I realised that attending such groups when being a parent is not an easy task. It is difficult to focus on the person delivering the meeting, on the discussion between the members, on the planning of the next event when the baby is crying, when the toddler is not behaving and when the child is bored and tired. Most of the time, I preferred attending on my own, or, not attending at all if babysitting was not available at home. I also started to realise that faith sharing in the family is no easy task.
An opportunity which has helped me is the intergenerational catechesis. For a whole scholastic year, together with several other families, for one hour a week I experienced sharing faith and learning with other families who have young children like me.
Despite the family needing to mobilise itself once every week, we all seemed to enjoy it. This experience helped me realise that it is good to be together with other families going through the same journey.