By Sarah Delaney
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI said that a proper transmission of the faith to the young or the uninitiated depends on a solid grounding of the basics of Catholic formation — Baptism, first Communion and catechism.
Pope Benedict XVI told participants of a diocesan conference in Rome June 13 to not be afraid of their duty as Christians to evangelize and to pass on the word of God “with courage, with conviction, with joy.”
Speaking from Rome’s Basilica of St. John Lateran, the pope called for renewed efforts for evangelization, which he said, “is not the duty of a few, but of all the members of the Church.”
Special attention should be given to the education of children, adults who have not been baptized and those who have left the Church, he said.
It is the duty of Catholics today, he said, “to demonstrate the beauty and reason of faith.”
He called on parents to baptize their children, saying that even youngsters are capable of understanding the importance of the Christian message, can appreciate prayers and rites and know the difference between right and wrong.
The Church continues children’s religious education throughout their adolescent years by offering parish programs, Church-run summer camps and youth groups so that children “can understand with intelligence the truth of faith” and also have the “experience of prayer, charity and fraternity,” the pope said.
He called on Roman parishes to continue the education of young Catholics through catechism, emphasis on the sacraments and guidance on the value of silence and prayer.
Despite the obstacles daily life poses to the work of evangelization, he said “don’t be afraid to commit yourself to the Gospel.”
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