SPAIN, Pilar Martín Moreno •
Asterix (you probably know the French comic series by René Goscinny) lives around the year 50 BC in a fictional village in northwestern Gaul. It is the only part of the country not conquered by Julius Caesar, and is therefore surrounded by four Roman camps. In many Asterix books, the main plot is the attempt of the Roman army to occupy the village, but they do not succeed. This village is invincible because it has a druid who makes a magic potion that makes them invincible when they capture it. —
What does this have to do with the Joseph Kentenich Parents’ School that I am about to tell you about? Well, today, in the 21st century, there are other Roman camps that are trying to “conquer” us. Unlike our friends in fiction, we have been asleep for many years, and they have made many small and at the same time large conquests: abortion laws, euthanasia, gender ideology, etc., which have attacked the family head-on and with which we live unflinchingly. Wouldn’t it be good to wake up and see how we can save the Christian roots, the inviolable values, the faith of our parents, to take care again of the cell where everything important grows up: the family?
Father Kentenich said: “A renewal of the world is only possible if the nucleus, the family, is original Christian. (…) If we want to renew a world, then the Blessed Mother must necessarily urge the renewal of the family.(…) If we want to become resistant to the great dangers of today, then the family must be renewed.” (Retreat of the Family Federation, 1959, first talk, May 31, 1950).
Putting what we have learned at the service of the Church
How can we achieve this? Many of us grew up in Schoenstatt and benefited from Father Kentenich’s pedagogy. As in the parable of the talents, we cannot keep and bury what we have received, but we must put it at the service of others, at the service of the Church, and stop “combing sheep,” as Pope Francis told us.
These were some of the voices that challenged us to create this Joseph Kentenich School for Parents. At Eduvida (an association that supports the Church on a voluntary and non-profit basis in various areas: Marriage Preparation Courses, Natural Methods of Family Planning, Affective-Sexual Education, etc.) we saw that a new “leg” was needed: that of the School for Parents. So, I took courage, and with a (very small at first) team of “crazy dreamers” we dusted off an old “family project” that I had started a few years ago when our children were little.
What did we base it on? On the five stars of Father Kentenich’s pedagogy, to give tools to families in a practical and theoretical way, to be a light in this world that counteracts what we see around us. Little by little, the team has expanded with fabulous people from the entire Family Work, and we like this the most because together we are “Schoenstatt for the Church, Schoenstatt going out.” The entire Schoenstatt Family (Family, Mothers’, Pilgrims’ and Youth Movements) has been committed to the family in the broadest sense. We will try to reach out to the families “from within” and also from “without” because we want to take the project to as many communities as possible.
What are the program and content of these five stars?
- Education in the world of today. Ideal pedagogy. Each of my children has gifts with an unrepeatable task, and this is also true for our family. How do we discover them? How do we work on them? How do we teach and work on values at home?
- The family is important. Attachment pedagogy: how do you educate in love, affective-sexual education, how do you help them to have healthy leisure time… How do you educate in love, affective-sexual education… How do you help them to have healthy leisure time?
- Self-esteem in our children. Pedagogy of trust: how to make our children feel loved at all times? Love is the origin, the means and the goal of education. How can we work on healthy self-esteem? How can we teach them faith?
- Really grow as human beings. Pedagogy of and for freedom. How to help them grow up free so they know how to always choose the good? How to obey? What should rewards and punishments look like? How to use the subconscious mind for education?
- For every situation in life. Organic or movement pedagogy: How do I accompany my children in their growth? How do I lead a dialogue? How do I use sensitive periods to educate better? How do I deal with social networks?
How is the Parents’ School organized?
- There are a total of six meetings every two weeks, each lasting an hour and a half. The first half hour is the formative part for everyone together and then, depending on the age of the children, we break into small groups to create some momentum and plan the “homework” that needs to be done from one session to the next with the family. We also provide reading materials and some reflection questions. We begin and end by placing the session in God’s hands.
- There is one person or couple who facilitates the group during the six sessions of the course, and one “specialized” person or couple who travels around the communities and groups presenting their topic.
Already 80 families registered
The initial idea is to stay in each parish for two years, to form a support group for the pastor, leave all the material to them and let them continue independently. In this way, we can open the school in four new parishes each year. This year we started with three parishes in different areas of Madrid and an online version. At this moment, more than 80 families have already enrolled, and we are trying to accompany them.
And of course, the Blessed Mother is at the center, because she is our great educator, and we are her little instruments. The whole team prays three Hail Marys every day for this intention. So if you feel that you can collaborate in this apostolate, the family seems important to you, you have some time and/or you think of a parish where it would be good to take it on, do not hesitate to contact us. There is much to do, and by all means join us in our prayers so that we can reach many families for the glory of God.
A book with a summary
We have published a book with a summary of the contents of this parenting school. If you are interested, you can ask for it in the shrines of Pozuelo or Serrano (in Madrid).
There is also a Kindle version online, at this link (in Spanish).
Our country, our society, our family need us and we need to get up and start working. We want our families to be a light in the world, an oasis in the desert, the indestructible village where the “Romans” cannot invade.
Would you like to help us? And spread this article?
Parent School (spanish)
Homepage of Eduvida
Original: Spanish, 30.12.2022. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org