The Key to Effective Family Catechesis: Adult Faith Formation

Recently, I shared information about our exciting new Family Catechesis programs from Loyola Press. I can’t emphasize enough that the key to an effective family catechesis program is the formation of the parents and that, if you are taking the time to form parents well as part of a family catechesis approach, you have “killed two birds with one stone”—you have not only introduced a new model for children’s faith formation, you have successfully implemented […]

Family Catechesis, Adult Faith Formation, and Combatting the “Drop-Off” Mentality

Perhaps the biggest challenge that I hear catechetical leaders and catechists talk about is reaching the parents of children in religious education programs. Over the past half-century or so, the Church has done a very effective job of training parents to drop off their kids at religious education classes so that “we”—those involved in the parish catechetical program—can teach them the Catholic faith. Years ago, when families and communities reinforced Catholic values, teachings, and practices, […]

Grandparents and Grandchildren Go to Faith Camp

Grandparents can play a unique and important role in family faith formation. The General Directory of Catechesis describes the family as the primary place where catechesis takes place: “In this family catechesis, the role of grandparents is of growing importance. Their wisdom and sense of the religious is often times decisive in creating a true Christian climate.” (236) Pope Francis echoed a similar message in a tweet about grandparents: How important grandparents are for family life, […]

Celebrating Advent by Making Wreaths with Your Families

As our young families gathered on the first Sunday of Advent, the buzz of excitement was undeniable. Our parish hall was transformed into an Advent workshop where they created their very own Advent wreaths. Before me lay a sea of long tables at which the families worked, chatted, collaborated, and prayed. Christmas music harmonized with the hum of warm and friendly conversation; the atmosphere was most certainly alive with joy. Together, our families wove the […]

Four Ideas for Engaging Parents in Faith Formation

While there is often agreement among catechists that parental involvement in their children’s faith journey is essential, it can often be quite challenging to actually encourage and engage parents in the process. The business of family life, the idea that the teaching of the faith is a role reserved for the classroom teacher, DRE, or pastor, and the fact that this level of involvement may not have been required in parish programs in the past […]

Final Installment of Families Living Faith at St. Jude, New Lenox

Last month, I posted on two occasions about a unique approach to faith formation at St. Jude Parish in New Lenox, IL, which honors the role of parents as their children’s primary catechists. In short, the parents and kids gather once per month at the parish at which time the kids are taught a lesson by catechists while parents engage in a session of adult faith formation and are equipped with resources to go home and to […]

More About Families Living Faith at St. Jude, New Lenox

Last week, I told you about the innovative faith formation program, Families Living Faith, at St. Jude Parish in New Lenox, IL. Today, I’d like to provide a few more details, background, and observations about this unique approach that takes seriously the role of parents as their child’s first catechist. “Getting there” was not easy and required a great deal of planning. listening, and trial and error over a number of years. The parish first attempted to move […]

Parents Come First at St. Jude in New Lenox, IL

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the faith formation staff at St. Jude Parish in New Lenox, IL, to get some insights into their Families Living Faith program: an approach to faith formation that takes seriously the Church’s call to make adult catechesis primary. The St. Jude faith formation program has about 1200 children. In their Families Living Faith program, children in grades 1–6 and their families come together for an […]

Combatting the “Drop-Off” Mentality

This afternoon, I met with Deb Breakey, the DRE of St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago, to brainstorm a new way to kick off the catechetical year this Fall designed to combat the “drop-off” mentality that so many parents have when it comes to their children’s faith formation. We are working on designing an experience on the first night of religious education that, in essence, will be an intergenerational event. Parents will be asked to gather with […]