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
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.
Ignatius Press – Faith and Life
Ignatius Press – Image of God
Our Sunday Visitor – Alive in Christ
Sophia Press – Spirit of Truth (Family Formation)
USCCB – High School Curriculum Framework (Adaptation for Parish Catechetical Programs)
Here is a collection of recommended documents and resources for use in parish catechetical programs for students with special needs.
Pope John Paul II
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Sacramental Guidelines (Updated 2017)