In big business we see a mentoring system which works well. We have the older worker mentoring the young. The mentees are given the knowledge that their seniors in the work force have gained over the years. There is a relationship built up between the mentor and the mentee that is good for the individuals and for the company. This mentoring system is part of the strategy of the work place where the seniors help the juniors become competent in their work.
Within the Church an almost perfect mentoring system was handed down from ancient times. A priest, writing in the Catholic Times, laments what we have lost, and reminds us what it was.
The family would be responsible for teaching the newly added member of the family the Christian way of life. Baptism would incorporate the new member into a larger family of the faith and the parents would begin teaching the child. The family would feel a need for outside help and there you have the godparents to help in the raising of the child. And besides, when baptized you gave a child the name of saint whose example would always be there to spur the person on to imitate them in the way they imitated Jesus.
This system looked at objectively seems ideal and yet the reality we have is quite different. Those that follow the intentions of the mentoring system are few and what we have in the books has become a formality and without meaning, there are little results to show. No matter how wise certain programs are when they are done without meaning and perfunctorily the results are easily seen.
Tertullian said in the ancient Church that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the faith. In 1984 Pope John Paul canonized 103 martyrs. How many of our Catholics know and are familiar with the lives of these martyrs? He asks. We have another 125 that have been researched and are waiting for approval from Rome for beatification and canonization. These are all worthy examples to help us to be more serious followers of Jesus. And yet the writer feels that we show little concern for these elders in the faith.
This month is the month of the martyrs and we will begin the year of Faith next month. We need a new mentoring system. The Protestants have a one on one approach. The Catholic Church has recommended that we have a spiritual director but this is no easy step for many to make. We need help to travel the journey that we have been given and to do it with joy requires companions in the faith. He hopes that with the beginning of the 'Year of Faith' we will see some results in the new evangelization with a mentoring system that fits our present reality.