Traditional Religious Education
Parish Catechetical Programs
“The parish is the preeminent place for the catechesis of adults, youth, and children. ‘Knowledge of the faith, liturgical life, the following of Christ are all a gift of the Spirit which are received in prayer, and similarly a duty of spiritual and moral study and witness. Neither aspect may be neglected.’ Pastors have the duty to provide catechesis; parishioners have the reciprocal duty to participate in and support the catechetical activities of the parish.” (National Directory for Catechesis, 60)
“Catholic schools are vital to the Church’s mission of evangelization and catechesis. They exist in order to educate the whole person: mind, body, and soul. They present the totality of the Catholic faith.” (National Directory for Catechesis, 61.4b) Religious instruction in schools sows the dynamic seed of the Gospel and seeks to ‘keep in touch with the other elements of the student’s knowledge and education; thus the Gospel will impregnate the mentality of the students in the field of their learning, and harmonization of their culture will be achieved in the light of faith.’” (General Directory of Catechesis, 73)
Intergenerational catechesis, also referred to as whole community catechesis, invites parishioners of all ages to learn about their faith and celebrate together. This approach provides an integrated and comprehensive approach which addresses the role of the parish community as being both the agent for catechesis and its recipient, and promotes faith formation as a lifelong process. It emphasizes the essential connection between catechesis and the Sunday Celebration of the Eucharist, embraces all ages and generations, provides opportunities for Christian Service, and supports the family’s role in passing on the faith to children.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a sensorially rich experience for children from the ages of 3 to 12 years that gives children the opportunity to grow in love and knowledge of God through the Christian tradition. It is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the Church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. Central to this program is the Atrium, a sacred space prepared for the children. A place of beauty, the atrium is designed for being with and enjoying God, listening to God’s Word, and praying.
Family-Centered Faith Formation
“Within family-centered catechetical programs are opportunities for parents to catechize their children directly, for spouses to catechize each other, and for children to catechize one another and their parents.” (National Directory for Catechesis, 61.2) Family catechesis should include prayerful celebration within the family which is closely linked to the parish liturgical celebration, as well as opportunities for Christian Service within the family and community.
Catechesis in the Home Setting
“As the primary educators of their children, parents have the right and duty to choose the kind of educational environment that they determine best suits their children’s educational needs. . . If Catholic parents choose to provide catechesis for the children in their home, that catechesis must be both complete and authentic. . . . The home-based catechesis of children is a cooperative effort between the children, their parents, parish leadership, and the diocesan bishop.” (National Directory for Catechesis, 61.A.3)