“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, and respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule.” CCC #2223
Our family is blessed to belong to a vibrant and solid parish whose members were inspired by the Holy Spirit over 30 years ago to encourage and empower parents to be the primary educators of their children in the Faith.
Tired of the CCD model and witnessing its ineffectiveness in passing on the Faith, a core group of parishioners met at the break of each day to pray for the inspiration to develop materials and a model that would inspire life-long personal commitments to the teachings of Christ and His Church.
What followed was a model for family catechesis that is on the rise in our Church, but has already taken deep roots in our parish community, the Church of Saint Paul in Ham Lake, Minnesota.
The result has been a generation who has embraced and truly know their Faith.
We stumbled upon the ministry of Family Formation when our first children were toddlers and have been blessed to raise them with the catechesis that Family Formation provides. Materials written by staff and parishioners at the Church of Saint Paul are faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, receiving the Imprimatur by our local Archbishop. Family Formation, however, is not just a catechetical program, but a model of formation that seeks to bring the entire family together and set them on a path to Sainthood.
At a parish level, families meet once per month and while children meet in grade-specific classrooms with a catechist, parents gather for fellowship and teaching on the same topic as their children. For the other three weeks of the month, families implement home lessons on a schedule that suits their needs and rhythm as a family.
Home lessons are simple to implement even for parents who feel they may not have a great handle on their Catholic Faith. All family members in grades K-6 (alongside preschoolers with Little Lambs materials) spend about an hour learning about a topic of our Faith at age-appropriate levels. Family Formation follows the three-year liturgical cycle. Using games, crafts, audio recordings, food, and other activities, the Faith comes alive in our homes.
Family Formation has helped our family lay a foundation of Faith.
It’s aided in establishing for our children that our Faith is central in our home, and it’s something we talk about regularly. We pray together, grow together, and learn together.
When suddenly our world was hit with the ramifications of a worldwide pandemic, we were unable to attend mass, youth group, social and other formation events at our parish, but families were already equipped with home lessons to continue to grow in their Faith. Families turned instead to the home altars they had created over years of establishing their Domestic Churches.
It’s like we had been preparing for this all along!
As the Family Formation model grew and became successful in our own parish, local parishes began to ask for guidance in implementing the model within their own community. Slowly, the movement has spread throughout the United States and beyond.
Catholic parishes and families are faced with much uncertainty approaching the fall as they navigate the many ramifications of Covid19. Family Formation may be the solution you’ve been seeking, especially if you see a generation of holy saints on the horizon.
Consider becoming a distance family, or get your entire parish on board!
For more information about Family Formation, visit www.familyformation.net
For more information about a risk-free trial being offered to parishes:
Consider attending one of the scheduled Zoom information meetings for parishes or reaching out to the friendly Family Formation staff for more information.