Adolescence and Faith
Our faith for families focus stage is adolescence. We think of teenagers as easily being influenced by peers. However, several recent studies indicate that faith is mostly influenced by parents. These are ways that parents can influence faith:
1) Teens who continue to practice their Catholic faith into adulthood report that their families often discuss faith, God, and prayer. They acknowledge God’s grace in their family. Adolescents recognize their parent’s relationship with Christ.
2) Participate in Mass together on a regular basis. You may need to change your regular Mass attendance time to accommodate your adolescent’s schedule. Perhaps friends could be invited.
3) Put faith into action by joining together in service of others. Service allows us to look outside of ourselves for examples of Christ’s love. Adolescents want to be active apostles within a community of believers.
4) Adolescence is a stage of searching. Most saints questioned and doubted. We hear in the Gospels of how the disciples didn’t understand the Messiah even though they traveled with and witnessed Jesus’ works. Provide time to just listen and dialog about the questions that arise. Explain what you believe, and why. Trust that God is along on the journey too.
5) Encourage your child to join youth groups and attend retreats. Teens who do, have a more dedicated prayer life, study Scriptures, and continue faith formation beyond high school.
- National Study of Youth and Religion. 2017. http://youthandreligion.nd.edu/research-findings/reports. University of Notre Dame.
- McCorquodale, C. & Sterten, L. (2010). A faithful challenge. National Initiative on Adolescent Catechisis.
The Mass - Greeting
All of the greeting options are inspired by scripture, Paul’s letters. It reminds us that we are in relationship with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That is the key to our existence. The greeting invites us to feel welcome, safe, and loved. The words, “The Lord be with you”, is meant to inspire and encourage us. This greeting was spoken to Moses, Joshua, Jeremiah, King David, and Blessed Mary when they were called by God to a daunting mission where they relied upon God.
By replying, “And with your Spirit”, we acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s unique activity through the priest by virtue of his ordination.
The Mass - Act of Penitence
Christ calls for reconciliation with others before offering sacrifice (Matt 23-25). The Confiteor challenges us to reflect four ways in which we may have fallen into sin: “In my thought and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.” We repeat “through my fault” three times to show that we are truly and sincerely sorry for our sins.
We are all equal here. We are all sinners. God forgives and accepts all of us. The price is that we must forgive and accept others. We must also pray for one another with hope. In Luke 15:2, the Pharisee grumbled because Jesus ate with sinners. He still does!
The Kyrie is one of the oldest parts of the Mass. It is a translation of the Greek word eleison, which means to come to the aid of another because of relationship. It is a three-fold petition for mercy and reminds us of God’s love for us, even in the face of our sins.
The Mass - Gloria
Pope Telephoros (d. 136) declared that the Christmas liturgy should begin with the song of the angels. (Luke 2:14) We join with the great men and women of the Bible, and the angels to joyfully acknowledge our redemption through God’s infinite mercy. The Gloria is used on Sundays outside of Lent and Advent and also for solemnities and feasts on the calendar. We praise and we appreciate what we believe and what we stand for as a community of believers. Many early Christians died for declaring “You alone are Lord.” Only the emperor was to be called lord.
When we pray the Gloria, we join the great men and women throughout salvation history and even the angels and saints in heaven in their praise of God.
The Gloria declares our relationship with God whom we love with our whole heart, mind, and soul. Thanksgiving should be a part of our lives and our voices during the Gloria should reflect it.
The Mass - Collect
This is the prayer the priest offers prior to the readings. It refers to the gathering of the people and has a set pattern. It contains an invocation that names God, a phrase that amplifies who God is or what God has done, a petition, a purpose for that petition, a motive that clarifies the reason of the petition, and a concluding doxology. These elements may intertwine. During the silence afterwards, we are to reflect upon the prayers that we bring to this Mass. The Collect is the first of the three “presidential” prayers of the Mass. These prayers are addressed to God by the priest who presides over the assembly in the name of us all. The other two are the Prayer over the Offering and the Prayer after Communion. These prayers are always written in the plural (we ask, grant to us) as they are our prayers and those of the priest.