The classes provided by the school and the teachers support the children and their parents too as they guide them on the religious development. They have also been provided with the opportunity to have and celebrate sacraments as well as other church events and all these are well taught by the teachers they have around them. The children therefore, have the chance to grow and be faith- filled Catholic members and later responsible citizens in the society.
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“The children have an easier access and availability of learning resources and since the management and the catechists have a clear understanding of the congregation and the entire church at large, the children are able to learn the experiences of God’s creation and through their participation in church and school activities, they become equally engaged and in that same process, they are socially modeled and well understood” (Spitzer, 2010).
The children of St. Maria Goretti Catholic School are and for a very long time been well modeled into spiritual mature young men and women for the future society. They are able to very well believe in the doctrines presented to them through teachings and the participation in the mass. They are also made to believe that they are the future church and this is made possible through the teachings they receive. They have been able to have a closer understanding of the Bible and that of God too and that is “The social rules of learning to experience God are easily elicited from people, as is the report that prayer practice may lead to greater absorption, increased imagery and more unusual experience” (Luhrmann, 2007: 93). The learning processes represented to them are all rounded and therefore the children are bounded to the social expectations that God has over their lives. With this knowledge at a very young age, it is then easy to mold them to what God expects of them. They have a personal engagement and understanding and this way they get to have a deeper understanding of God even more on how He becomes real for his own people. Research shows that believing in God at a tender age is not always automatic as the religious community makes it look like and understands. It needs constant reinforcement from the repeated Church services and masses they attend, house group meetings, spiritual meetings and other activities they are involved in around the school and church premises too.
The school has been able to instill values in the children and their parents too and these involve the strength and courage to speak of their faith and what they believe in. Most kids get struck in the many questions of faith and Christianity in general. Parents in many cases find themselves in difficult situations when their children ask them about how God works or their origin. They mainly avoid these questions, not because they don’t have the answers but simply because they are very hard to explain especially to young people. According to Jean, “The church and well trained Catholic teachers and catechists are therefore, the best to answer such questions to children during lessons and mass activities too. The church has been able to teach these children on the good way of living and relating with others” (Goulet, 1994). As they grow, they have been able to easily proclaim their faith and exactly what they believe in without fear of being judged by others. Although not all the children are from catholic background, this has not been a hindrance in any way since the school and its management has been able to equalize the children and treat them in the same way possibly.
It has then become easy for the kids to think and act from moral standpoints by the use of all the teachings they get in church and the masses they attend. Since they are actively participate in the mass and the liturgy, it is then easy to teach and understand what is going on in church. Crimes such as torture, war, and abortion are rare cases in the school and many other catholic- based schools since they are made to believe the sole importance of life and this has been reflected in the kind of young people produced to the society by these schools.
The Catholic Church has different seasons with different meanings throughout the year. The children are actively involved in all these activities involved and this helps them in their spiritual development. Like the case of Good Friday, they are taught of sharing with the less fortunate members of the society. The case of Holy Thursday, they are taught of service to other people. All these teachings are helpful and beneficial to the children as they grow up as well as their own families too.
They get to enjoy all these activities and school becomes interesting for them too. According to Michal, “The combination of auditory and visual non-verbal cues together with partial information based on statements…the participants…transcend the community of time and space” (Pagis, 2010:322). The teachings of how Jesus was brought to this world to save them become so overwhelming and this act as a driving force throughout their growth and development. The school has goals and objectives all which are Christian- based. A good example of this is the providence of an atmosphere which is conducive both for learning and living within their Christian values. With such expectations, the school and the church as well, the students are able to grow showing respect and acknowledgement to God and their Catholic Faith too.
Among the Dene, learning for children proceeds with minimum intervention and instruction. As long as the children have an inquisitive ethnographer approach and a clear understanding of their ways and that of their religion too, then the knowledge acquired is considered as to be derived from the experiences they have in school and in church too. With this view in mind, then the best way to teach and inform them of their religion and what is expected of them.
For some time now, the church and religious to be exact has been politicized and with the emergence of many churches there are many irrelevant rumors about what Faith and the church should look like. The children and young people are the most highly affected by this and they grow up having diverse knowledge of what exactly they should believe in and what not to. According to Dene Tha then, “It is important to note at this point that what we would refer to as religious knowledge is what has been pertained to the “other land’ and the ways of properly relating to them” (Goulet, 1994:116). The school has therefore been able of minimize the debates moving around and providing the students with the correct answers of their origin and what to believe in. The Bible and its teaching have been able to help the students relate how life was before and how it is these days. They have a clear picture of the life the prophets lived with visions and dreams that came to pass easily just because of the faith they had. The Catholic Church has been known to emphasize on its teachings on the early people who lived and how close their relationship was with God.
This has been helpful in their growth and also their personal relationship with God. They can easily discern between a dreamer, or a prophet and what spiritual knowledge really focuses on. Religious experience is therefore described not as a believer but as someone who knows according to the Dene. “The church has been able to clear the confusion that exists and the students know which way to follow without having to be forced but out of their own will and choice” (Woods, 2012). With this knowledge gained, they are able to speak with authority and easily express themselves and what it is they believe in. the Catholic Church has been on the frontline in motivating and encouraging its congregation to publicly talk of what they believe in without fear of being ridiculed and judged. The children have become ambassadors of Christ to those who are yet to receive the good news not just through words but also through their actions.
The students are taught on how to make and maintain friends who won’t make them lose their faith as they grow up and even colleges where they are bound to meet students of all kinds. It is very difficult for a child to find people who care passionately whether they practice their faith besides their parents and their religious leaders. The kinds of friends who are bad influence to them are then described invaluable and they are taught on how to avoid them. Along the way of faith, it is only normal to have all sorts of obstacles but with the teachings acquired, they can easily avoid and deal with them courageously. According to Sandria De Sapio, “there is great power of children gathering together either with their families or on their own to pray rosary in solidarity, comfort, and trust in God that their wishes will be fulfilled ” (Jeakins, 2005). There are many attitudes towards silence and all these are prevalent in sociological thoughts and therefore, it is difficult to study the whole sphere of silence. The children are taught on how to speak their minds and what they actually feel towards their religion. Although some issues require silence rather than fight or argue, it is not a sign of weakness. Catholic Church has been criticized many times and accused of worshipping idols, according to the doctrines; the children are advised on praying and fasting for God to fight such battles.
Meditation is also a way in which these children are able to reflect on their personal relation with other people and with God too who is their sole provider. According to Dene, “adults’ instruction and direction are rarely explicit when trusting a child…is the formula, and the child is left with task of working out the details of an activity for himself” (Goulet, 1994:115). There were some personal reflection assignments which have been done by the students in the campus after a mass ritual. Believe giving certain task to make confession and adoration are just a few of the ways through which the children are given a chance to have a personal confrontation with God. Through Michal’s explanation, “The practice of meditation differs from ‘we-relationship’…meditating together… concentrate on their own internal thoughts and sensation” (Pagis, 2010: 314). The church is associated with Saint Maria Goretti, and therefore they have a day that is specially put aside for prayer and adoration to her. They believe she intervenes on their behalf and this is just one of the ways that the church helps the church o have a personal interaction with their respective saints.
In conclusion, it is right that the Catholic Church has played a big role in the development of children in the church sponsored schools. The children grow with the values that are taught to them and there is a big difference between the children from these schools and the others. St. Maria Goretti Catholic School for example is one of the Catholic schools and the students from this school have been known to be well disciplined and of great values. Again, the school has successfully been able to prepare the students as the future leaders and clergy men of the church. With the daily activities that the children undertake like masses and the rosary, they have been able to maintain the prayer habits even after graduating and venturing into other fields of life. The Catholic Church has therefore played a big role in ensuring that the young men and women that are presented to the society after study are full of life and with enough knowledge of what is expected of them. The church has developed these children into a closer and more personal relationship with God and also a better understanding of their own origin.
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