Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Spiritual stuff and J.

J has attended a Catholic school since we moved to the town when he was aged 5, the school as I reported in my previous post has been amazingly supportive to his special needs. Although the school is a Catholic one with a Catholic ethos it is far from insisting on church attendance or making children enrol for Communion classes. It is just a nice local school which has the needs of its pupils as the focus for everything it does.
Recently J has started to ask about Communion classes as his friend attends and he wants to go to. As a result of this we started going to church and I have discovered that I actually really like doing so. J is less keen but if he wants to attend the Communion classes then the church attendance is pretty much a requirement. In addition he needs to be baptised too so even more reason for attending church.

What J wants to do more than anything though is ..."take the bread" as he sees others doing. I have explained that this is why he will be attending classes as this will be the focus of them. I asked J if he knew what "taking the bread" meant., "yes" he replied confidently.." it means I can eat it" so not quite got a clear understanding of the symbolism behind it then!
I often wonder when I see the children from "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" going off and making their first communion whether they attend any classes or understand the symbolism of what they are doing. It's a big leap of understanding for a child...any child... to have a real understanding of change from  the reality of bread to the symbolic body of Christ. Not easy to explain, even harder to understand when you are small and the world is already a bit confusing.

In addition to this we have J's Dad who does not believe in organized religion  as such and who finds the recent church attendance all a bit of a mystery. J will talk to his Dad about "Jesus being kind" and his Dad will reply that "Jesus was a good man" without going into his belief that Jesus was just that, "a man" and not wrapped up in all the religion as spoken by the Catholic church.  This might be something he will be able to discuss with J when he is older and more able to process difference in belief systems. He knows that his Aunty Moonroot is Pagan or "a witch" as J has heard (he is deeply impressed by this). J also know that his Aunty has a "magic wand"  AND "a broomstick" which she assures him she only flies on at night. So we have discussed the different ways people pray but not differences in who they may pray to. Life is already complicated enough without trying to tackle that one yet.

I am rambling a bit here because without a doubt J is enjoying some aspects of the church and finds others (such as Mass) "very boring" as he openly told the priest one afternoon.  Thankfully the priest was able to say that he also finds " the Mass boring sometimes" - thank Heaven for a human and normal priest.

So - come September J will start his communion classes and sometime next year will be baptised. I will attend the classes with him both to help supervise and also to ensure J understands what is happening.

In the meantime J says regular prayers, some of which are school taught and others  which are ad hoc as he sometimes prays for his hamster who died or for "all the children ill in hospital". I am proud of him for taking it all in his stride, for coping with Mass when the school take him over and for being an angel in Children's Liturgy when it is busy.


Mike Farley said...

Tell him taking the bread is all well and good, but when they get the wine out it gets even better. Love from J's Dad (obviously a terrible man). x

Moonroot said...

I'm glad J is enjoying his experiences of Catholicism, but personally I think any kind of commitment to religion/spirituality/faith etc should be left until the age of 18 or over so the person fully understands what it is they are committing to. I may be a Pagan, but I respect all religions/beliefs and therefore think such big promises should only be made when we know what it is we're promising - otherwise it's disrepectful to the deity in question, and potentially troublesome for the dedicant if they later find this path is not for them. Just my 10 cents worth! YMMV.

Order and Chaos said...

Agreed which is why he won't be doing confirmation or anything too official, just the knowledge of why the bread is taken so that he can take part.
I suspect he will go his own way anyhow in life. Both the priests here were baptised and taken through the church as children as were their siblings. Both say they are the only ones in their family to remain faithful to the religion and that their siblings no longer attend church.

cheeky curves said...

My kids went to a catholic school and opted not do be confirmed. Like J my prayers start off with what I have learnt and end up with my hopes, my love my wishes for me and anyone that come to mind.

Wishing him love and enjoyment on his journey of discovery

Moonroot said...

I'm not understanding why he 'has to be baptised'. Isn't that the equivalent of 'promising' him to the Church in future? Not being argumentative, just not being a Catholic!!!

Order and Chaos said...

No problem Aunty Moonroot, the only reason he has to be baptised is because he cannot do the Holy Communion stuff if not. In theory this could be in any church (not necessarily Catholic)but as he is familiar with both the priests here it seems sensible that one of them baptises him so they can expain it. Tbh I am not that worried about baptism but as it's needed then I will get this done.
I am happy for J to explore Christianity and take part in stuff but cannot honestly see him becoming a "red hot Catholic" as a result.
I am not happy for him to take part in "confession" either - far far too young for that although the local priests don't go in for that much either. I am not a big fan of this.....the Catholic church weirds me out at times and this is one area it does so.

Oh and to J's Dad - you are NOT
"a terrible man", you just don't have a belief in religion and that is fine xxx

Order and Chaos said...

Apparently anyone of faith can baptise a child into the Christian community in an emergency - as long as they use water (tap water will do) and say "I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

Little fact I was unaware of......