Several years ago, I was working as a parish Coordinator of Youth Ministry, and one of my responsibilities was teaching a high school religious education class. The class was arranged by the parish DRE and met as part of her programming each Wednesday night. There was no set textbook or program. We had a wide range of topics and materials available, and we were able to move as the class needed. The class was comprised of a diverse range of students with varying backgrounds and levels of catechetical formation. Mid-year, a new family moved to the parish. The parents only spoke Spanish, and they had two sons in high school who had very little formal religious education.
The older of the sons was in eleventh grade. He didn’t speak much. I’ll refer to him as “Frank.” You could tell by what few personal stories he shared that Frank’s life was a hard one. He lived in a bad neighborhood. He adored his parents, who were hard-working, but recognized that they were consumed by the preoccupation of the family business and were also not as devout as they expected their children to be. The boys completed that school year and came back the following fall.