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Ready for the Faith
by Pat Gohn
Mary entrusts children with great things

Some adults fear that children are too young to handle the responsibilities of knowing good from evil and developing a spiritual life of prayer and virtue and good works. They feel that Catholicism’s way of life might be too demanding for the likes of children. When I encounter such reluctance, I recall how the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the children of Fatima in 1917. Mary challenged them, and she lovingly instructed them to live their faith more boldly. She then entrusted these children with a message to bring about peace and healing in a violent world. And many graces followed for those who embraced it. 

The Mother of God knows our children and young people very well. Her example shows me that our children are ready for the faith. They are ready to be the amazing children of God that Christ and the Church call them to be. The message of Fatima is no different from the Gospel; it is one of conversion for all of us, young and old.

While we must always present our lessons and activities with a loving attentiveness to what is age-appropriate, may we never limit our subject matter to our favorite stories or avoid topics that we fear will be difficult. A vibrant faith is applicable to all of life’s circumstances … even when sharing the stories of child saints, youthful martyrs, or children who have endured hardships or sacrifices on behalf of their faith. Youngsters already have a natural sense of good and evil. A well-formed Catholic faith will not only nurture that but bring it to maturity. We must always be ready to help our youth choose Christ and follow wherever he leads, for the rest of their lives.

In this issue we’re turning toward Mary, with our features offering a special emphasis on the Rosary and the centenary of the Church-approved message and miracle attributed to Our Lady of Fatima. On page 21 Virginia Kimball focuses on the heart of the message of Fatima. Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur outlines five important lessons for children gleaned from Fatima on page 29. Finally, for large-group use, on page 25 Lisanne Jensen explores field-tested innovations for holding a living Rosary with your parish, school, or youth group. Throughout this issue you’ll find resources for drawing others closer to Jesus through Mary, our Mother.

On a personal note, thank you for subscribing. As I complete my rookie year as editor, I’m looking forward to planning next year’s issues based on what you’ve told us are your favorite features and departments — and I’m especially excited to prepare for Catechist’s 50th anniversary issue in September. Our web developers are hard at work creating the new Catechist.com to serve you and your vital mission more effectively. 

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Let us pray for one another.


Pat Gohn, MA, is the editor of Catechist magazine. Find more of her work at PatGohn.net. 


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