Why Family Catechesis?
This is an important question. A question many Catholic leaders are responding to all over the country and even around the world. In response to the call to a “new evangelization”, the Church has rediscovered the importance of faith formation for the entire Catholic family. As families struggle with the pressures of our contemporary society, the Church urges parish leaders to offer a variety of faith sharing / learning opportunities that will help families grow into the “domestic church” we need them to be. Family Catechesis needs to be an integral part of the religious education enterprise in all of our Catholic parishes. It is this in the Archdiocese of New York.
What is Family Catechesis?
According to the National Directory for Catechesis, “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
What is the goal and mission for Family Catechesis in Parish Religious Education?
Family Catechesis’ basic goal and mission is to help families be the “domestic church” that is needed for the building up of the Kingdom of God. In offering a variety of learning and faith sharing opportunities, family catechesis can, in particular:
- help families learn how to pray and to discuss their faith together
- help parents better understand their role as primary catechists
- bring families together in order to share and deepen their Catholic faith
- strengthen the relationship between the family and the Church
- establish ongoing Catholic faith practices within the family life
- integrate the family into the parish community
What are the benefits of Family Catechesis?
Family Catechesis can offer many benefits, in particular:
- Involves the whole family in congregational life and learning, building up the faith of the whole family.
- Provides a way to teach, model, and demonstrate family faith practices.
- Provides the resources for families to live Christian practices at home.
- Eases the transfer of learning to the home because the whole family experiences the learning and practices together.
- Builds up the confidence and ability of parents to share faith and values with their children by providing parent education, resources, support, and encouragement.
If we want children to become lifelong Catholics and members of the church we have to start now by involving the whole family in the life of the church.
What are the requirements for Family Catechesis in parish religious education programs of the Archdiocese of New York?
- Students in Grades K – 8 are to be offered five hours of Family Catechesis yearly.
- Family Catechesis opportunities can be offered anytime from September to August.
- Family catechesis can be any combination of the approved models or methods.