Teach the young by St. John Bosco

Jude Missa

Education is very important because it shapes our future, including the young. But today, education has missed something which has always resulted in worries, depression, and anxiety, not only for youth but also for adults today. What is lacking in our education that enlightens the mind, but leaves a weakness in the heart? The solution is to receive education about our Lord and our faith. In short Catechism. What prompted me to say this? A lot of people who are struggling in school, work, or any problems that will cause worries, depression, and anxiety are searching for something to hold onto, but they are unable to find it. We can face the problem with confidence by holding on and praying to God. We can ask for help from the saints who have previously lived in this world, faced hardships, but remain strong because of their faith in God. Speaking of Catechism, there is a saint who is very well known for education and Catechism. That is St. John Bosco.

Who is St. John Bosco?
St. John Bosco but also known as Don Bosco is an Italian priest, writer and educator. He is born August 16, 1815 in Castelnuovo d’Asti, Kingdom of Sardinia (Now Italy). He was the youngest son of Franceso Bosco and Venerable Margherita Occhiena. When his father died, his mother supports him and his two older brothers. When he was nine years old, he had dreams. The first one where he saw a multitude of very poor boys playing and blaspheming, then a man who appeared, nobly attired, with a manly and imposing bearing said to him, “You will have to win these friends of yours not with blows, but with gentleness and kindness. So, begin right now to show them that sin is ugly and virtue beautiful. ” After this dream, he began watching his classmates and if there’s a fight, he will stop them.
He lives in poverty, which prevents him from attending school and spending years as a shepherd. But a priest became his first instructor who was impressed by the saint’s memory and understanding, including the priest’s sermon. This is where St. John Bosco inspired him to become a priest. In 1830, he met a young priest, St. Joseph Cafasso who support his first schooling with the help of his mother who had enough money to support his studies. Then in 1841, he was ordained as a priest.
He accompanied St. Joseph on his visit to prison, where St. John saw young prisoners and started to have concern for them. He started his own oratory where he teaches catechism to young people, including orphans and abandoned boys. And aiding them in finding employment. He keeps visiting prisons and teaching catechism. He provides shelter to the young homeless, but the result was not good at first. His belongings were stolen. He persists in teaching the young. He continued to teach and help young people, including St. Dominic Savio. Some priests’ teaching methods to young people are very strict, which is contrary to St. John Bosco’s teaching method where he taught the young with a smile. That is why some priests criticize his method.
In 1858, he started the Society of Saint Francis de Sales, now known as Salesians of Don Bosco with the boys that he helped including Bl. Michael Rua. St. John Bosco’s Salesians continued their work of educating and teaching Catechism to the young. Then later he founded the group of religious sisters, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians together with St. Maria Mazzarello to help young girls.
Why is it important to St. John Bosco to teach the young?

His belief was that educating the young could assist us in building a good society. Not just academically, more important to is educate them in Christianity, in Catholicism.

“If we want to have a good society, we must concentrate all our efforts on educating young people in Christianity. Experience has taught me that caring for young people is the only way to achieve a sustainable civil society”
– St. John Bosco

In our generation today, is it important to educate the young to Christianity?

Yes. Even though we are now living in the modern world where we can learn everything from the internet, we must teach the young about the Catholic faith where it teaches good moral and values. Sadly, when Vatican II removes Catechism from every school, young people are slowly starting to disrespect elders, including parents. The wrongdoing is now given respect and treated as good, while sin is now regarded as a mild form of evil. And more people are breaking the rules and laws.

“If the youth is well educated, we will have moral order. If not, vice and disorder will prevail.”
-St. John Bosco

How do we teach the young about Catechism?
Let’s begin with the basics, teach them first how to pray.  From morning prayer, before meal to Holy Rosary. And the most important, bring them to the Holy Mass. Then teach them good values such as giving respect to elder, thanking people who helped them even it is small. After that you can teach them about the Catholic faith, heaven, purgatory and hell, the saints, sacraments, sacramentals, dogmas and everything what young people should know. And always tell them to ask you question that they don’t understand. But remember, don’t teach them Catechism according to your own understanding, but according to the Sacred Tradition. And also, we have to teach them in a good manner with a smile. We can be strict but we must also make the young feel comfortable when you teach them.
Brethren, look around you. The young may seem smart and don’t need any help. As they become more intelligent today, some hearts become weaker, which also has an impact on their soul. Many young people are struggling with anxiety, stress, and depression because they are unsure of what to hold onto. To strengthen their faith, we must educate them about Catholicism. Teach them how to pray to God to provide them with strength in their daily lives. Instruct them on how to pray the rosary in order to seek assistance from the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Explain to them the significance of attending Holy Mass and worshiping God. Teach them to kneel before the Eucharist to show respect towards the body of our Lord. Teach them that they can offer any hardship or pain they are experiencing to God. Not only does teaching the Catechism nourish the mind, it also nourishes the soul. And if the mind and soul are strong because of faith, they can easily overcome anxiety, stress, and depression.
For teachers or any leaders of education today, it is not hard to incorporate Christianity into your classroom. Let’s begin the class by praying. If you have time, you may teach Catechism. For the parents, being a good parent is not just giving them what they want, but to educate them what is right and educate them about the Catholic faith. And for those who had knowledge of Catechism, let us share this knowledge to the young, because educating them in Christianity is also an act of Holiness.
“Do you want to do a good deed? Teach the young! Do you want to perform a holy act? Teach the young! Do you want to do a holy thing? Teach the young! Truly, now and for the future, among holy things, this is the holiest.”
– St John Bosco

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