At the seventh-annual Los Angeles Prayer Breakfast, keynote speaker Carolyn Woo, recently named president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, said there has been a failure by today’s Catholic parents and elders to pass on the moral pinning, values and, most of all, love of their faith to their children. Moreover, she stressed that with the lack of sisters, brothers and priests teaching in parochial schools and serving as catechists in religious education programs today, it’s not only a responsibility but a privilege to pass along the religious formation received in past generations.“What type of community walks away from the formation of their young?” asked Woo, who currently is dean of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. “So the future and the vitality of our church depends on what this generation will step up to do for the next generation. And it’s not just their job or responsibility, it is a privilege. This is an intergenerational thing. We need to pass on particularly all the blessings that we have received.”Woo said she knew about the formidable challenges facing Catholic schools today, including declining enrollments and higher operating budgets resulting in tuition increases. She praised the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for establishing the Catholic Education Foundation and its endowment for helping tens of thousands of low-income families send their children to local Catholic elementary and high schools.“So, no, it’s not easy work,” Woo pointed out. “It’s tough work. But it’s necessary work. And in the end, what we want for our young people is their ability — intellectually, spiritually — to be able to ask big questions, to pursue worthy dreams and to have an abiding faith. “Yes, the work is not easy,” she stressed. “But, fortunately, it does not all depend on us. There’s a Holy Spirit, and our work will be multiplied.”The Sept. 20 prayer breakfast was held once again at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. It began at 6:30 a.m. with the recitation of the rosary, led by Auxiliary Bishops Gabino Zavala, Oscar Solis, Gerald Wilkerson, Edward Clark and Alexander Salazar. Archbishop José Gomez was the liturgy’s principal celebrant, along with concelebrating auxiliary bishops and about 30 priests. Then breakfast was served outdoors in the plaza, and Carolyn Woo, who will become the seventh chief executive of CRS on January 1, 2012, spoke from a makeshift stage. More than 1,000 people attended the event.Carmelite Sister Margaret Ann, principal of St. Philomena School in Carson attended the event for the fourth time. She readily concurred that Catholic education is key to the future of the Church in the United States. “And I agree it’s more the problem of the adults than the children,” she told The Tidings. “If we as adults give our children an experience of the love of God, give them structure, give them direction, they want it. It’s innate to their being to want the truth, to want love and to want the Lord.”Patricia Moncada thought everything Woo said was truthful. “We have to step up and we have to teach our children, bring them up with religion,” the 44-year-old Angeleno said. ‘Cause right now we’re a materialistic world, and there’s a lot of selfishness. I mean, you could teach people to be more compassionate and loving, and to bring them up with Jesus. You can raise them to be the best person they can be, to be givers and not takers.”It was Grace Rodriguez’ third prayer breakfast. She came to what has become a Cathedral tradition with her parents, sister, aunt and cousin to get some badly needed spiritual energy. “It’s really true,” she said. “It feels like the world’s coming apart because there’s no structure within families anymore. And religion is just going away. But these people who are here, you know, are the ones who are still trying to make us come together and renew our faith. And without that it feels like there’s no hope.”The Notre Dame academic’s address made Aldrin Lupisan, a junior at St. Anthony High School in Long Beach, “really think” and helped reinforce his own recent personal regeneration. “Oh, that’s how students are nowadays,” he observed. “They don’t really know anything about their religion. They’re just playing sports or doing things and not paying attention to what’s ahead for them.“Since I started my own confirmation classes, I’ve come back to my faith,” the 16-year-old reported. “I’ve started saying the rosary every day and become closer to God and my family. And I see myself changed.” {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0923/breakfast/{/gallery}