As we can see from experience, the life of every family is not characterized only by wonderful and enlightening moments. Often, the difficulties and trials of life and history make the experiences of families dark and complex. Sometimes it is because they struggle to live together, sometimes because their relationships are not always easy and carefree, sometimes because the couple’s relationship goes through moments of disappointment and frustration and the relationship between the spouses is marked by «a thousand forms of abuse and subjugation, misleading seduction and humiliating ignorance, even the most dramatic and violent kind.»
—Catechesis 8 in preparation for the 10th World Meeting of Families
You all know that parenting can be the most blessed and challenging experience in life — sometimes both simultaneously. In conversations with parents and church leaders, we at the Office of Family Ministry have heard your concerns about the challenges young people face today. We know that parents (especially first-time parents) do not always know how to confidently approach these issues, especially from the faith perspective. We saw a growing need for ways to offer parents human and spiritual support, not only for their knowledge, but so they can accompany their children through different phases of life in our complicated contemporary culture. If you’ve ever Googled, “How to talk to my child about…” and then, just for good measure, added the word “Catholic” at the end, we’re your people.
To better support you on your journey through parenthood, we applied for and received a generous grant through the Catholic Marriage Initiatives Fund. Our goal was to create a way to accompany parents as their children face different situations and challenges at specific phases of life, starting with parents of tweens and teens (grades 6 through 12).
The project, now known as Compass, can be found at: compassforparents.org. We have created a database of articles, videos, podcasts, books and more for parents to access from their computer, smartphone or tablet. Topics include bullying, internet safety, pornography, prayer, substance use, vocations and many more. A member of our team has reviewed every resource, and while some may not be explicitly Catholic, none conflict with our Catholic faith. We know many of these topics overlap, so clicking on one topic will also show you resources from other related areas. This regularly updated catalog can be used by typing in the search bar or using the clickable tags along the side of the page.
The goal of Compass is not only to provide information. Compass aims to anticipate the needs of Catholic parents, accompany them through the trials and joys of family life and point them to faithful answers to life’s difficult questions. Each family — each child — is unique, so we strive to provide tools for parents to discern what is suitable for their circumstance or situation at that moment, knowing that they can also turn to their parish for ongoing support.
As we mentioned above, our first focus was meeting the needs of parents with tweens and teens in grades 6 through 12. This is the first phase of Compass. Next, we will be adding resources for parents with children in 3rd through 5th grade. After that, we will look at younger children as well as young adult children.
We know the world is ever-changing, and we often face situations we have never encountered. The Office of Family Ministry prays that this database can assist you and your family when needed.
When children are young, they need us. Their everyday lives depend on us: food, clothes, body care, communicating and learning to live in the world. Even as adults, however, we all have the experience of depending on something and someone. We are always in need of help, love and forgiveness!
—Catechesis 5 in preparation for the 10th World Meeting of Families
Visit Compass today.