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Models of Faith Formation

Parish Catechetical Leaders

The Goal of Faith Formation

At the center of every process of Catechesis is the living encounter with Christ. “Accordingly, the  definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with   Jesus Christ; only He can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.’” (CT5)  Communion with Christ is the center of the Christian life, and as a result the center of Catechetical action.  (Directory for Catechesis, 75) Catechesis is “the totality of the Church’s effort to make disciples” (CCC 4)

The Parish

“The parish is the preeminent place for the catechesis of adults, youth, and children. ‘Knowledge of the faith, liturgical life, the following of Christ are all a gift of the Spirit which are received in prayer, and similarly a duty of spiritual and moral study and witness.  Neither aspect may be neglected.’  Pastors have the duty to provide catechesis; parishioners have the reciprocal duty to participate in and support the catechetical activities of the parish.” (National Directory for  Catechesis, 60)

The Family

The future of persons and that of the human and ecclesial communities depends to a large extent on the family, the basic cell of society. Thanks to the family, the family becomes a family of families and is enriched with the life of these domestic churches.  Therefore, “with inner joy and deep comfort, the Church looks to the families who remain faithful to the teachings of the Gospel, encouraging them and thanking them for the testimony they offer.  For they bear witness, in a credible way, to the beauty of marriage, as indissoluble and perpetually faithful. (Directory for Catechesis, 226)

Models of Faith Formation

To support the Goal of Catechesis in the Parish and the Family, we look to different models recognizing the unique nature of each parish community.

  • Family-Centered
  • Small Discipleship Groups
  • Traditional classroom
  • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
  • Whole Community Catechesis
  • Hybrid
  • Home Schooling
Family-Centered Faith Formation

Family catechesis aids families in becoming the domestic churches they are called to be. The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care vocation to a sacred state. (Lumen Gentium 11) Typically, this model requires one monthly session for parents to attend (while the kids go to separate rooms for an activity with catechists). At this meeting, parents are the “students” who receive teaching from catechists (or pastors) about some aspect of the faith. They are also equipped with materials and methods for presenting that same teaching to their own children during the rest of the month. Some programs also offer a second monthly, whole-family activity that might combine devotional, learning, and social time to build a greater sense of community in the parish.

Small Discipleship Groups

Faith formation experience in intentional, small discipleship groups of students and/or families. (Jesus' discipleship approach).

Traditional Classroom Model

Traditional educational setting with students and Catechist in a classroom

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Sensorially rich experience for children 3-6 and 6-12 rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the Church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. Click here for more information.

Whole Community Catechesis

Whole community catechesis invites parishioners of all ages to learn about their faith and celebrate together. This approach provides an integrated and comprehensive approach which addresses the role of the parish community as being both the agent for catechesis and its recipient and promotes faith formation as a lifelong process. It emphasizes the essential connection between catechesis and the Sunday Celebration of the Eucharist, embraces all ages and generations, provides opportunities for Christian Service, and supports the family’s role in passing on the faith to children. 

Hybrid - Blend of online and in person instruction

A Hybrid blend of online and in person instruction. Students receive virtual instruction and are scheduled in classroom either twice a month or monthly.

Home Schooling

There are situations where some families choose to "home school" their children/youth. In this setting they choose to provide secular and/or religious education in the home. The policies and guidelines click here: provide direction for sacramental catechesis for those who home school their children/youth.