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Family Catechesis

Evangelize your parish by catechizing the family! Family catechesis has proven to be a powerful experience for thousands of families within the Archdiocese and across the nation. Children and teens need to become lifelong Catholics and members of the church which starts by involving the whole family in the life of the church. What is family 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 of Family Catechesis in Parish Religious Education?

  • 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 nine models of family catechesis?

Explore the models below to determine what would work best for you, your catechetical team and the families you serve.

Intergenerational Whole Community Family Catechesis

Intergenerational Whole Community Family Catechesis: parents stay together with their children for the entire time, the program lasts for 2 ½ hours and follow the Six (6) Program Design Steps:

  • Step 1: Hospitality / Meal
  • Step 2: Opening Prayer
  • Step 3: Introduction of Theme to Whole Group
  • Step 4: In-Depth Learning (Whole Group or Activity Stations)
  • Step 5: Shared Learning Summary, Explain Home Kit
  • Step 6: Closing Prayer

Intergenerational Whole Community Family Catechesis (Modified): parents are separated from children for Step #4 (in-depth learning); include whatever of the Six Program Design Steps you want.

Multi-Media Family Catechesis

Multi-Media Family Catechesis: families watch a movie that is age-appropriate, that offers a Catholic moral/theological teaching, showing a short clip/portion of the movie at a time; offer reflection questions for the families to discuss after each movie clip at the parish; end with prayer.

Family Prayer Celebration:

Family Prayer Celebration: families participate in a Catholic devotion or another Catholic prayer service together e.g. rosary, stations of the cross, Eucharistic adoration; offer some direction before the ritual / prayer experience; offer reflection questions for the families to discuss after the ritual at the parish; give an activity / review sheet to be brought home after the ritual.

Activity-Centered Family Catechesis

Activity-Centered Family Catechesis: families participate in an arts & craft activity together that offers a Catholic moral/theological teaching and/or practice; start with some or all of the following: hospitality/ prayer/introduction to a theme; offer reflection questions for the families to discuss at the parish and/or home.

Family Christian Service Project

Family Christian Service Project: families participate in a Christian Service project together at or outside the parish; offer reflection questions for the families to discuss after service project is done; give an activity/review sheet to be brought home after the service project is done.

Family Christian Holiday Celebration

Family Christian Holiday Celebration: families participate in a Christian Holiday meal or tradition together at the parish; offer reflection questions for the families to discuss after the celebration at the parish; give an activity/review sheet to be brought home after the Holiday celebration.

Family Pilgrimage

Family Pilgrimage: families participate in a pilgrimage together, visiting a holy/sacred site; offer reflection questions for the families to discuss after the pilgrimage; give an activity/review sheet to be brought home after the pilgrimage.

Family Retreat Day

Family Retreat Day: families participate in a retreat experience together; the retreat day would offer time for prayer, reflection, discussion, community building.


Resources in Whole Community/Family Catechesis
Family Catechesis Workshop Resources from LifeLong Faith Associates
Resources for Family Catechesis
  • Catholic Relief Services Education: a gateway to activities, lesson plans, simulations, prayer services and other resources that explore global issues through the lens of Catholic Social teaching.
  • Christian Family Movement: a national network of parish/neighborhood small groups of families through which Christian values are reinforced and families are encouraged to reach out in action to others.
  • CRS Rice Bowl: a Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten Faith-in-action program for families and faith communities.
  • Domestic Church Families: a website of resources for helping families live out their faith.
  • Building the Domestic Church: a free catechetical resource through which families can realize more fully their mission to be an authentic domestic church through daily prayer, catechesis and Scripture reading, as well as through monthly charitable and volunteer projects they can do as a family.
  • Tools for Building a Domestic Church: some suggestions from the USCCB on how to build your “domestic church” through a life of prayer that can help all the members of your family.
  • Family Fully Alive Series: a resource of prayers, meditations and activities to enrich your family life.
  • Help!  My Teenager Doesn’t Want to Spend Time With the Family Anymore: It’s natural for teenagers to want to spend time with their friends, but there are a few things parents can do to preserve family fun and harmony with young adults.(ND)
  • How to Prepare Your Kids for Lent: there is plenty to do to help make this a meaningful season for our children.(ND)
  • Four things no one ever told me about parenthood. Books and friends touched on them, but until I faced them myself, I really had no idea.(ND)
  • Loyola – Family, Faith and Fun: Catholic family life is an opportunity to recognize the grace of God in daily living. Choose from among several links for ideas on how to nurture your family’s faith.
Videos on Family
What are the benefits of Family Catechesis?
  • 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.
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.

For More Information Contact

Sister Nancy Elizabeth Doran, SSC
Director: Family Catechesis
Catechetical Office
1011 First Avenue, Room 1250
New York, New York  10022