About Parish Catechesis

Faith formation, religious education and catechesis are all terms that describe efforts to teach the Catholic faith in ways that draw all people closer to Jesus and deepen their participation in His Church.

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.

– Catechesi Tradendae, 5

Find a Parish Catechetical Program Near You

The Role of Parents

Parents are the primary teachers of their children. The family is the first and most important place where children learn about who they are and how to love God and each other. In the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the Archbishop, clergy and lay leaders support parents and families in a partnership to provide a Catholic education for their children.

Parents are the most influential agents of catechesis for our children. They have a unique responsibility for the education of their children; they are the first educators, or catechists. They catechize primarily by the witness of their Christian lives and by their love for the faith. One way that parents communicate Christian values and attitudes to their children is by loving each other within the context of a Christian marriage and their love for Christ and his Church. Their participation in the life of the parish – above all Sunday Eucharist – their willingness to evangelize and serve others, and their dedication to daily prayer demonstrate the authenticity of their profession of faith.

– National Directory for Catechesis, 54C, USCCB


The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. The right and duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.

– Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2221

The Role of the Parish

Each parish in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis provides a catechetical program which is overseen by the pastor and the parish catechetical leader. The function of these programs is to provide a systematic and organic presentation of the faith in addition to the formation provided by the liturgy and the formation provided in the family home. Parish catechetical programs are not a substitute for the formation which takes place in the liturgy and the family home.

In addition to the leadership of the pastor and the parish catechetical leader, many other parish members serve as catechists and perform other critical duties. Each member of the parish also serves as a witness to those being formed in the faith.

Curriculum Resources

Ignatius Press – Faith and Life

Ignatius Press – Image of God

Our Sunday Visitor – Alive in Christ

Sophia Press – Spirit of Truth (Family Formation)

USCCB – Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series

USCCB – Catechetical Formation in Chaste Living

USCCB – High School Curriculum Framework (Adaptation for Parish Catechetical Programs)

Special Needs/Inclusion

Here is a collection of recommended documents and resources for use in parish catechetical programs for students with special needs.

National Organization

National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities


Loyola Press

Pope John Paul II

2004 Dignity and Rights of Persons with Mental Disability

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Pastoral Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops on people with Disabilities

Welcome & Justice for Persons with Disabilities: A Framework of Access and Inclusion

Sacramental Guidelines (Updated 2017)