Lively Conversation on Intergenerational Catechesis

Rather than post something new, I’d like to direct your attention to the lively conversation that is going on over my December 7 post on Intergenerational Catechesis (inspired by an intergenerational event I recently attended). Several of the folks from the coordinating team of the host parish left some insightful and challenging comments and questions and we’ve engaged in a very productive conversation over the last couple of days.

I’m most impressed by the passion that these folks have for providing meaningful faith formation for their parish. From their comments, one can tell that they are committed to shaping the most effective catechetical model possible for their faith community. I’m also deeply impressed with their knowledge of catechetical documents that provide vision for developing effective models of faith formation.

You’re most welcome to add your thoughts about intergenerational catechesis, whole community catechesis, evangelization and catechesis, and any of the other subjects that we touch on in our exchanges.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at


  1. Our parish has chosen to use intergenerational catechesis as the primary form of formation for the past two years. Granted, our parish has a lot of older people in it, but I have been surprised that I see a lot of adults but the children are a definite minority in the process. Yet, the activities have really been designed to appeal to a “child”. Often times, as a participant, I find my response is “Isn’t that cute?” rather than “That’s something I hadn’t thought about before” or “I need to pray about that.”

    I believe the key to making intergenerational catechesis successful depends upon what happens outside of the monthly parish event. In the best of circumstances the monthly event can create a hunger to learn more. The challenge is to provide the resources that can be used at home for both children and adults that will “feed” that hunger. Secondly, I believe it is essential for the parish to provide other opportunities for adults to extend their learning beyond what is presented at the intergeneration events.

    The intergenerational approach is a powerful tool for evangelization and catechesis. But a successful catechetical program needs to use a variety of tools to meet the wide diversity of needs among its members. The older I get the more convinced I am that one size does not fit all.

  2. Dick, thanks for your comments. I agree with you about the “one size does not fit all.” Your comments are very insightful. I love your comment about finding many of the activities “cute.” A colleague of mine and I talk about that often…he despises anything “cute” in catechesis. I recognize the need to do things in catechesis that are engaging and he teases me when I come up with ideas that he considers “cute.” The bottom line is that the Gospel is not cute. Engaging (or “cute”) activities are entry points and MUST be followed up by solid teaching of the substance of the Gospel. Thanks again for sharing.

  3. Joe
    What has occured to me experiencing intergenerational gatherings and discussing them to my peers is that these gatherings have tremendous potential to evengalize or reevangelize but but our children and adults still need to have ongoing catechesis.
    These events can spark or enliven faith but we all deserve to drink from deeper waters and that is where catechesis comes in.

  4. “Deeper waters” captures my whole concern. Hopefully the intergenerational events will create a thirst for water that satisfies.

  5. I just wanted to add that I attended what I thought was the “adult” portion of the GOF event at St. Raphael’s. The adult retreat that was offered on a separate evening from the family activity. My husband and I have been attending the WINGS events since they began and I really loved that they had the adult evening at the front end of the week with the family portion later in the week. My husband and I are parents of adult children and are appreciating adult only formation activities. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love children. We do enjoy the occassional intergenerational activity.

    The evenings are wonderfully planned and there is much learning that takes place. I believe the beauty of what is done at St. Raphael is that it creates a hunger to learn more. There is a re-energizing that takes place; new life is infused after the events. It doesn’t need to be a once in a life-time revitalization but I look on it more as a shot in the arm, an energy booster.

    I don’t believe the plan is ever to have GOF become primary but rather it is part of parish life. It is a piece of the overall formational offerings and the parish. It seems to provide the theme for the year and a continuity to the parish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.