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Parenting and Children

Image FrameECFL Latino Training, 2010


Do you desire assistance in bringing the Catholic faith to your preschoolers? Are you looking for ways to develop the spirituality that your children were given at baptism? The Early Catholic Family Life (ECFL) program offers assistance to parents seeking to pass on the faith to their children.

ECFL is a parent-child program developed through the archdiocese and sponsored by the Office for Marriage, Family & Life, which is aimed at an underserved but essential part of all parishes – parents with children 0-5 years old.

  • ECFL is a 7 session 2 hour class patterned after the highly successful and popular Minnesota ECFE program (Early Childhood Family Education).
  • ECFL consists of a parent-child interaction component, a parent discussion time, and a children’s time.
  • ECFL gives Catholic parents an opportunity to learn more about passing their Catholic faith on to their children from the earliest years.
  • ECFL gives parents an opportunity to discuss faith education with other Catholic parents and to have fun learning more about God together.

History of the Early Catholic Family Life Program (ECFL)

Alan and Joanne Foley founded the ECFL program in 2000. They developed this program in response to a concern by parents that the Early Childhood Family Education program lacked Catholic spirituality. Pilot programs were started in St. Bernard’s Parish in Saint Paul, MN and St. Michael’s in Prior Lake, MN.

In 2007, a bilingual team translated the Early Catholic Family Life Program in Español. The program was piloted at Sagrado de Corazón and Santo Rosario. Since that time, we have had two additional training sessions in Spanish and will now be offering this training to the Latino-Hispanic community yearly.

Here are just a few of the comments from the participants of the Latino-Hispanic training session:

“In a personal way, it helped me to think what I am doing with my own children and the potential of what I can do for them. I also like the idea of what I can do to help other parents"

"It gave us ideas on how to teach the Catholic faith to our little one"

“It would be good to share it with more parishes!”

"It was beautiful, because it shared with us God's Word and how to get closer to him"

The ECFL program continues to expand in the Archdiocese. More importantly, it continues to bring more and more parents and their pre-school children to Christ and into deeper relationships with one another, with the Church and with the parish community.

Modeled after the highly successful public school program for parents and small children, Early Childhood Family Education, ECFL brings young families together in the parish to learn from the program and from each other, what the Church teaches about bringing children into the life of the Church from the earliest stages.

Goals of the Early Catholic Family Life Program

  1. To give parents the tools and skills they need to teach their children the Catholic faith.
  2. To strengthen the faith of parents and enhance their commitment to the Catholic faith through active personal involvement in faith formation.
  3. To instill in Catholic parents the need to evangelize within their families and to be true spiritual leaders of their children.

For More Information

If your parish is looking for a program that fills the gap between Baptism and First Communion and has proven to be successful, the Early Catholic Family Life program is what you are looking for.

If you would like more information about the program or how to start it in your parish, please contact us.



All in God's Plan (AIGP) is a three-part program offered at various stages of development for children and their mothers, fathers, parents, guardians, or other strong role models in their lives.

Each program is age specific and appropriate and intended to assist families in teaching youth about God's gift of human sexuality and the sacredness of human life, along with the importance of the family. These programs are designed to help parents be the teachers in these important areas of life. The programs foster communication between the child and the parent and reinforce the positives of life; life which is given to us by God.
This is a three-part program for children and their parents. Each program is age-specific and intended to assist families in teaching youth about God's gift of human sexuality and the sacredness of human life, along with the importance of family. These programs are designed to foster communication between the child and the parent and to reinforce a positive family life.

AIGP classes are held at parishes throughout the Archdiocese from Fall though Spring. Updated schedules are posted under Related Content below when classes are offered, so check back often! 

Additional Resources:



Are you a single parent looking for a supportive, hopeful, welcoming and a safe place to get information, and ideas?  The Archdiocesan Office for Marriage, Family & Life offers the following resources: 

  • Single Parents Newsletter - The Single Parents Newsletter is a bi-monthly newsletter offering tips on parenting, resources, spirituality, and events in the Twin Cities for families. Copies of the Single Parents Newsletter are available as pdf's on this page or on the Resources page. You may also contact us to receive current or previous issues of the newsletter.
  • Annual Singles Retreat - The retreat is a time to reflect, recharge and connect with other single parents who share your Christian values and are raising their children in the Catholic faith. Come regroup and refresh from the demands experienced with single parenting at the Archdiocesan annual retreat held in the month of February each year. This is open to all single, divorced, widowed and widower parents. For more information, please contact us.
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