Today we prayed the rosary outside an abortion clinic with my Middle School Class. The clinic was closed, the idea was not to cause confrontation, but to pray for the victims. Most of these kids do not regularly pray the rosary, so we did a little catechesis after. We talked about how the Apostles Creed can be substituted for the Nicene Creed at a children's Mass. We also discussed how the Fatima Prayer was given by Mary to the children Lucia de Jesus Santos, Jacinta and Francisco Marto. We went over the meaning of the doxology and finished up with where the Hail Mary came from.
This got me thinking about the traditions of Catholic Culture, everything from Saint's feast days to why the priest wears rose vestments on the third Sunday of Advent. There is an incredible depth of culture possessed by the Catholic Church. In the past this culture was passed down from parents, through Catholic education, and many times in the surrounding culture of ethnic neighborhoods.
Today many parents, raised in the post Vatican II period, are themselves disconnected from Catholic culture. In many parts of the country the surrounding culture is secular, sometimes even anti-Catholic. This puts an incredible burden on the catechist to pass on not just dogmatic knowledge of the faith but its cultural norms and traditions too. As always parents are an important support system for this, even if they themselves must be catechized. That is why whole parish catechesis is an important aspect of parish life.