From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris…September 4, 2016

Father Aaron FerrisMany of our kids are back in school now, and the rest will return soon enough. With the kids going back to school, it is good to remember that the school, the teachers, and the administrators are there to serve the parents. Yes, they are the professionals; yes, they need to be respected. However, it is the parents who have the right and the duty to raise and educate their children. This is especially true in regards to the faith, but in all aspects of their children’s lives the parents have the primordial right and responsibility to raise, form, and educate their children. This responsibility may in some measure be delegated to schools or tutors or catechists in order to assist the parents, but the responsibility always falls back to the parents.

Parental rights are a serious matter. This is why in the sad cases of divorce the issue of custody is so often a sticky issue. To one degree or another at least one of the parents’ rights will be taken away from them. This is also why the state should always be wary of stepping into families when there are claims of abuse. Yes, these claims need to be taken seriously for the well-being of the children, but at the same time the state must take seriously the rights of the parents to raise their children as those parents see fit.

These rights, though, are also a serious responsibility. God created these children; He recreated them in Baptism; they are His children. He has entrusted these children to parents to watch over them, to raise them up as God’s sons and daughters, and to help them arrive at human and Christian perfection. That is no mean feat that God expects of parents. Parents do not have to do it alone for they have the help of God’s grace, the assistance of the Church, and the support of their family, friends, and community. For all this support, though, the responsibility falls back on the parents.

As we begin another school year, it is good to take some time to think about how we live out these rights and responsibilities. Obviously, this is more pressing for parents with children still at home, but even those with an empty nest are still involved in helping to form the young. As grandparents, as older members of the community, you also are an important help to those who are currently raising children. Whether we are parents or we are helping parents, it is good to reflect on what we are doing to help the children grow and mature into solid, Christian men and women who will be able to faithfully live the Gospel. Where have we abdicated too much of our rights and responsibilities? Where is the Lord calling us to an extra effort so that the following generations will be able to live more faithfully and fruitfully the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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