In the wake of a terrorist attack or tragedy, Catholics of all ages may seek answers to help make sense of the acts of violence and hatred. For children, the complexities of these issues can cause fear and feelings that young people find hard to articulate or manage.
Tragic events present a particular challenge for parents and catechists of young children. Children who hear or see reports about a tragedy may have questions for their parents or catechists and will look to them for information and reassurance.
But how can we help them to process these events and to understand grief through the lens of faith?
HELPING KIDS LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY AND DEAL WITH GRIEF
A Support Article entitled Grief and Faith explores the issue of grief. It reminds us that grief is a natural experience and names the five stages of grief.
Though the article is written to address the death of loved ones or the pain of divorce, its ideas may help catechists and teachers to help children articulate their feelings in response to the recent attacks. In times of grief, the support and understanding of a teacher, catechist or priest can bring tremendous resolution to a child's situation.
The Grief and Faith Support Article includes information and practical suggestions for implementation both in the home and in the religious education setting. It is available in English or Spanish.
As you and your families and communities respond to tragic events, remember the power of prayer.
In reponse to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and Beruit, Pope Francis said “the road of violence and hate does not resolve the problems of humanity . . . . In the face of such intolerable acts, one cannot but condemn the unqualifiable affront to the dignity of the human person.” Pope Francis invited those gathered to join with him in prayer. Surely during troubled times we all join with Pope Francis in prayer: for the souls of those who have been killed, for their grieving families, for the safety of the living, for the end of violence and war.