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Children’s Ministry begins in the family home. It is vital that parents remember that they are the “first educators” of their children and that it is in the family, primarily, that they learn and experience what it means to be loved and to love. Parents have been entrusted with the growth of “a child of God” who is, through the sacrament of baptism, a temple of the Holy Spirit and a member of the Christ’s living body the Church. Parents minister to their children by not only caring for them in their physical needs, but also with a loving concern for the welfare of their spiritual self which yearns innately to know the love and affection of their Father in heaven. Pope Francis reminds us that we have each been “called by name” which is “a sign of our great dignity in the eyes of God and a sign of his love for us. All are precious in his eyes, worthy of respect, and loved.” Parents, then, are to help their children in realising this wonderful potential that is inherent to their personhood and be the first to love, cherish and respect their children and then to teach them to do the same to their fellow family members and friends.
Saint Pope John Paul II taught us that “parents are, through the witness of their lives, the first heralds of the Gospel for their children. By praying with their children, by reading the word of God with them and by introducing them deeply through Christian initiation into the Body of Christ-both the Eucharistic and the ecclesial Body-they become fully parents, in that they are begetters not only of bodily life but also of the life that through the Spirit's renewal flows from the Cross and Resurrection of Christ.” This is a great challenge and one where the parish community is called to support and provide practical assistance to parents and their children and which involves a familial environment of cooperation between parents, pastors and parish members.