School and Parish praying
for the best for our children.
St Austin’s Primary School,
Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
A request was made for families (practising and non practising)
to volunteer feedback regarding their experience of The
Wednesday Word Family Time. Excerpts from their interviews
are included below.
Word Interview Team
(Class Teacher at St Austin’s School, Wakefield, West
interviewed a total of 6 parents/families. 2 of the families
were not currently practising Catholics; the remaining families
comprised a mixture of practising and non practising Catholics
I asked each to feel free to be open with
their responses and reassured them that their responses
would be anonymous. I explained to them that all feedback
was important, positive or negative, and was welcomed by
the team as a means of developing the programme.
I felt moved, really touched, by their
sense of commitment to the programme, even the non-church
attendants. Their strong desire for this kind of quiet,
quality time with the family enriched with prayer was a
privilege to hear about. All without exception acknowledged
the special time that The Wednesday Word had created
for them, and for most it seemed to be becoming a habit.
I felt both energized and humbled by the
parents' enthusiasm and thirst for a deepening of their
faith. In the case of the several non Catholic partners/husbands/wives
there was a searching for an understanding of the
Catholic faith. I have felt privileged to be involved in
this Wednesday Word pilot scheme.
The Wednesday Word Interview Team
(Family Life Minister at St Austin’s Church, Wakefield,
was amazed at the open response of parents to give constructive
feedback so that other people and families in other schools
could possibly benefit from The Wednesday Word.
The families I listened to seemed to have
a very clear understanding of the pressures on themselves
and families in general. I was taken aback at the very warm
welcome The Wednesday Word had received in each
of these homes, and when reflecting afterwards, thought,
"Is this how they would have welcomed Jesus into their
homes had He knocked on their door Himself?" (though
He did in essence, through His Word).
The warmth of the welcome for The
Wednesday Word in people’s homes and the way
that they wanted to share it with other families had an
impact on me. Whilst interviewing and reflecting upon the
interaction that took place I was very much aware of the
great privilege it was for me to listen to the parents share
intimate aspects of their faith and lives and that in turn
priests, bishops and laity would have the opportunity to
hear what they thought and said.
One of the words echoing in my ears from
this is the word "structure"—not
my word, but the word that parents used…. something
to work with….to build on.
Some statistics that were
captured from the pilot scheme questionnaires:
87% of respondents said they
did not currently read the Bible in the family home
on a regular basis and 67% of families said they
did not pray together on a regular basis.
100% of respondents believed
that The Wednesday Word was a good way
for the school and church to support their family.
90% of those who did participate
in the Family Time custom said it was something
they would consider doing on a regular basis.
75% of those who participated
said that The Wednesday Word could help
to renew their own adult faith, and 97% said that
this family custom helped them to transmit faith
to their children.
The comments below are just a small selection of the many
positive remarks that we have received from practising and
non practising parents who have used The Wednesday Word.
- I liked the
family time together, listening to the children's insights
into the Gospel and family life, and having a structure
to work on.
- This is a way
to reinforce good values in children; it supports the
- I enjoyed the
togetherness and the way that The Wednesday Word
involved non-Catholic members of the family. This was
excellent and fun.
- It prepared
the children for Sunday Liturgy with simple and direct
messages which can also be expanded on. It was simple
to understand, thought provoking, child and adult friendly
and teaches us how to pray together as a family.
- It made us sit
down as a family and discuss the Gospel and say how we
felt about it. It brought us closer together.
- The Wednesday
Word gives a simple message about faith and everyday
life and created positive time together that helped our
children relate the Gospels to their own life and situations.
Anything that has a positive impact on children should
be shared and made widely available.
- Without The
Wednesday Word we would probably never have done
this kind of thing. If it wasn't coming through school
I cannot imagine how I could set out to do it myself.
I think it is great. When we did the family time I felt
closer to my daughter; we shared something special together.
Listening to my daughter's opinions and observing her
enthusiasm and her genuine interest actually helped my
- I think many
people who don't go to church are being misled by TV soaps,
advertisers, etc. and need something to bring sanity back
into their lives. This could be one way to do that. I
have a friend who does not go to church but he told me
that he has done The Wednesday Word with his
family and he enjoyed it. I would like to think that this
may help him come back to church one day.
liked The Wednesday Word because it
brought our family closer together and gave
us an opportunity to discuss and hear each other's opinions
about the Gospel. Even though we go to church this actually
made God real to us in our real life outside church. It
was easy to do because it was all set out for us.
We both thought it was a good way for the church to input
the Gospel into lots of families and also give us good advice.
The children saw that we were interested in their answers
and opinions. It was good quality
time together, which I think would help most Catholic families.
It also got us to stop and think about God in the week, which
can be difficult as most evenings are usually so
are both non-Catholics. The Wednesday Word was enjoyable.
It got us to sit down together as a family
and the children enjoyed it. It
seems to clearly be a way to form an excellent link between
the church and school. I think The Wednesday
Word would help people to focus more on each other, value
other people more and would help keep families closer together.
Anything that can do this should be shared with other people.
nights are always busy and on Sunday mornings we go to football
training. We have attended mass on odd occasions, particularly
when the headmaster has encouraged us to do so for a special
family mass. I enjoyed The Wednesday Word family talking
time and I think it is
a good habit to get into. I think the school
is a better religious educator than we are but maybe discussions
on this level may make us feel more confident to get involved.
Later in the evening to my husband's amusement I
told him I wouldn't mind going
to Mass this Sunday.
kids enjoyed the attention; this is probably
something we need to do more of. Many people choose Catholic
schools because of the morals and values. I am sure they appreciate
the need to support the school by reinforcing the moral messages
at home. I think the children's
enthusiasm had a positive impact on me. As
adults we can sometimes lose the simple outlook on life. I
actually felt I entered my child's world and it felt very
freeing. Having a resource like
this helps you to get beyond the peer pressure that sometimes
stops this kind of thing happening in homes.
am not a Catholic but I have 2 children in the school - one
in reception and one in year 2. My husband is Catholic but
he has left me and I don't think he is currently practising.
Being involved with The
Wednesday Word has made me want to go back to church.
As a single parent it is a problem for me to attend any kind
of faith programmes in the evening due to lack of child care.
I think we need The Wednesday Word and it's something
I would prioritise, as it is a good thing to do. This has
also left my oldest child wanting to go back to church again.
For us, The Wednesday Word was simple and straightforward
and helped us to understand the faith and the Bible. I think
this is a really good way that the school and church can support
me and my children.
do not attend church or belong to any denomination, although
I have been baptised. It is not always easy to put aside time
to do things together; there are just so many other demands.
But this helped us because it was already prepared and ready
to use. I think it will help me consolidate what my son may
hear at school but not fully understand. I think it
is a good way to link the spirituality of the school with
the home and it might spark a bit of interest
in my faith. It is always good to spend
time with children as it can often lead to talk about other
things that concern them.
husband is a lapsed Catholic but I am still practising. We
have 3 children, the oldest is in year 7. I encouraged my
husband to join us in Family Time, and even though
he won't go to church with us he agreed to do the Family Time.
He was actually comfortable with it and found it to be a positive
experience. The Family Time
allowed our children to hear about their dad's faith,
which is not normally something that they would hear about
because he does not go to church. I
think that this may also open up conversations with other
families, if we knew others were participating in The
Wednesday Word. I think this is a really
good way to encourage family conversation and a good way to
teach the children listening skills and respect for other
people's opinions. I also think
it might encourage more families to come back to Mass.
have 2 children in St. Austin's School. I'm Catholic but my
husband is a lapsed C. of E. My oldest child is in year 2.
He was very interested and enjoyed The Wednesday Word.
I found The Wednesday Word very helpful. It is normally
hard to think what to say about religion to my son. I think
this really helps us to grow in our faith
and it brought us closer together.
I think we really need to do this and I
really loved the experience.
husband and myself are both Catholic but we have been lapsed
for over 20 years although we do have 2 children in the Catholic
education system. We were reluctant to even try using this
resource but were then amazed
how well our 9 year old son engaged in the deep and meaningful
conversation that followed. We wouldn't have
thought to talk on this level about such things with our children;
for us it created a link between spiritual and earthly things.
This resource promoted meaningful discussions and thought,
and it got the kids thinking more about themselves and others
and how different things
affect people's lives. I found this quiet time made me stop
and think what is happening in my life.
we had finished my 6 year old son asked if he could take it
to bed with him because he wanted to read it again.
My other child was openly excited about the attention she
received in this family time and our 3rd child surprised
us by coming out with a biblical quote that had obviously
been discussed at school which was related to this passage.
This seems a great way to consolidate the work that already
takes place in school and Children's Liturgy. Many parents
support their kids with homework in other subjects so I can't
see why most parents would not engage with this. When I asked
my husband his opinion he said
it brought us together and made us talk in a very helpful
We need to do this more.
partner and I are both lapsed Catholics. I think The Wednesday
Word would raise the profile of the Catholic faith and
perhaps bring people and families back to church. We found
The Wednesday Word guidance to be a great help. It
helped us to remember and to bring it all back.
The children enjoyed it. On a regular basis I believe The
Wednesday Word would help to keep the family on track
and to remind all family members how to be good people. Receiving
this through school broadens our awareness of the presence
of God in our lives and reminds us of real values. I
think this helps us as parents, is
very informative and to the point.
this came through school I think it would help us and our
children to learn and talk about God in a different way.
It's a good way for the children to voice their opinions about
the faith and we were able to help them with this. I can't
see how any people who want their children in a Catholic school
would refuse to do this. It's
so simple, but so helpful; it brings goodness into the house
and it's already prepared for them. We
hope it continues as it's a good base for families to build