When I was younger, my parents got me up out of bed, skipped weekend morning kids tv and took me to mass each and every Sunday. We lived less than 10 minutes minutes away from the local Church, which in turn was adjacent to my primary school. The significance of the proximity of the church to my Catholic primary education was never lost on me, and one that had an effect upon my faith.
One of my strongest memories of my school years comes from when I was around 7 years old. It was Lent and , despite having a strict teacher, I dragged my friend to mass each morning before school. As mass did not begin until around half 8, we were late almost every morning. The teacher was naturally irritated by this repeated truancy. But my normally timid nature around teachers did not feel the need for apologies in such a scenario. In fact, in most cases I merely told the teacher I was at mass and then proceeded to take my seat without even a hint of apology on my part.
And all of this was natural to me. I accepted everything that I was told about Christ according to the Magisterium of the Church, as transmitted to me by my parents.
This familiar tale of a Catholic upbringing was at at time when unbeknownst to me, the embers of the faith were about to expire in Ireland. The damage done by the failures of Novus Ordo ecumenism and liberalism, the many families torn apart by the legalisation of divorce as well as the most fatal of all, the abuse scandals, drove my parents amongst many others away from attending mass each week.
Recently, the Church celebrated the feast Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, we must never forget that parents play a crucial role in the permanent extension of the faith to our youth. St. Therese was blessed with two wonderful parents who wanted for their children the love of God. The Commandments instruct us that honouring our mother and father is the connection between others and Our Lord.
If the Church is to renew its vitality in Europe, it needs strong families and strong parents. My own parents may have drifted away from practising Catholicism, like many of their fellow countrymen, but I pray that they may someday realise that the faith is grander than the broken shell that recognised as the one true faith in late 20th Century Ireland.
Our Lady , St. Joseph and St. Maximilian Kolbe... Pray for all families, that they may come to know Christ!