Traditional Religious Education is the primary model utilized to engage children and adolescents in catechetical formational activities. A Family-Led Model enhances the participation of the entire family in lifelong formation. The trend in today’s catechetical education programs is to include the family, especially parents, in the formation of their children.
“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery-the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the ‘material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.’ Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.” (CCC 2223)
“Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.” (CCC 2226)
In the Catholic News Agency article, “Teach Your Children How to Pray!” - Pope Tells Parents, we are once again reminded that parents are the first catechists.
“Pope Francis acknowledged how there is little time available in family life. However, by finding time to pray, we ‘give time back to God.’ In so doing, we escape the obsession with not having enough time, rediscover ‘peace in the important things,’ and ‘discover the joy in unexpected gifts.’”
Encouraging the faithful to read the Gospel every day, as he has done on numerous occasions, the Holy Father said this is a particularly important practice for families.
“The Gospel, read and meditated on in the family, is like good bread which nourishes the hearts of everyone,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded: “In the family of prayer, in strong moments and in difficult periods, may we be entrusted to one another, in order that everyone of us in the family may be protected by God's love.”
As an archdiocese, we advocate for parishes to offer family catechetical programs as a primary form of catechesis models are inclusive and serve to integrate family involvement that includes all family members in religious education and faith formation programs. Lifelong catechetical models of discipleship formation include integrating the entire parish community inclusive of all ages and all generations.
The lifelong faith formation of the faith of children, adolescents and adults is a response to a call to grow into a mature disciple. The Catechetical Ministry team is committed to nourishing catechesis and evangelization in compliance with the mission and vision of the Catholic Church. Our primary objective is to accompany catechetical leaders in parish settings to be vital, sustainable and lifegiving.
Catechists are given an important vocation to pass on the Catholic faith and form missionary disciples. Catechists can also be parents and faithful family members who evoke the Church mission at home. Discipleship is fully alive when families engage in evangelization and catechesis within and beyond the home.
“Since the Christian family is a ‘domestic Church’, prayer and worship are central to it. Christian family life involves prayerful celebration within the family, as well as liturgical celebration in the parish community of which is an integral, active part” (Sharing the Light of Faith: National Catechetical Directory (NCD) for Catholics of the United States, p. 337).
“Another component of authentic family ministry and an important goal of family catechesis is the rendering of Christlike service. Sensitized to others’ needs by the imperatives of Christian love and justice, the individual family seeks, according to its ability and opportunities, to minister to the spiritual, psychological, and physical needs of the whole human family” (NCD, p. 337).