It is mainly up to parents to teach their Catholic children about the meaning of life and love, but grace can break through in even the most broken of families.
This was the message of US Catholic author, speaker, and radio show host Christina King who spoke to parents of the Broken Bay diocese at St Agatha’s parish, Pennant Hills, on February 24.
Her ‘Parenting for Love’ talk was part of a 10-day Australian speaking tour at the invitation of Parousia Media.
Mrs King shared tips from her experience as a catechist and mother of eight on how to teach children the basics of the Catholic faith, including the dignity of the human body and how it relates to the Church’s sacraments.
She mentioned her experience of sexual abuse as a child, and stressed the importance of an affirming relationship with one’s children and age-appropriate sexuality education through ongoing conversations.
“We need to get down to their level and connect with them. This lays the foundation of trust so that they know they can come to us with anything that might happen to them.
“And growing up experiencing lots of affectionate and non-sexual touch is very important.”
Mrs King spoke on marriage, sexuality, apologetics and her own life at events including the Renaissance of Marriage Conference in Sydney, and in the dioceses of Parramatta, Broken Bay and Wollongong. In Victoria she spoke in the Archdiocese of Melbourne and diocese of Sale.
Fr Paul Durkin, vocations director for the diocese of Broken Bay and parish priest of St Agatha’s, told The Catholic Weekly that “supporting people in their roles as parents is a very real need for the modern Church and society and general”.
Steve Buhagiar, Broken Bay’s Life, Marriage and Family team leader, said that Mrs King is an “uplifting and encouraging” example of growing up in what Pope Francis would call the ‘concrete realities’ of a broken family life.
Beth Vila, who has a two-year-old son and is pregnant with her second child, said she had been looking for answers on how best to raise her children in the faith.
“It’s rare for a mum to get a Catholic perspective on parenting so I wanted to hear Christina’s point of view as I’m really only at the beginning of this journey.”