What is Family Faith Formation?
Wanting to honor the parents' role as the first educator of their children's faith, we are transitioning our program to a Family-centered formation. We are introducing "A Family of Faith", a four-year cycle of family formation, where parents are given a detailed picture of authentic and vibrant Catholic family life, and given the tools to help them succeed at being the religious educators that they already are. Family Faith Formation will support parents in the religious formation and education of their children through instruction, prayer experiences, retreats, and community building events.
What about Sacramental Preparation (Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion)?
The program also includes preparation for the Sacraments of Penance (Confession), First Eucharist (First Communion), and Confirmation. When a child is ready, sometime after 2nd grade (for Penance and First Eucharist) and after 8th Grade (for Confirmation), and having at least two years of formation, they may apply for preparation for the Sacrament needed.
What about teaching the faith by grade levels?
No matter how good a program is, classroom catechesis only works in the context of a faithful community. One percent of a child’s life can’t overcome the other ninety-nine. When faith formation is limited to the classroom, its impact is not only lessened - it can make the faith appear irrelevant to life, with it just another hoop to jump through to get those sacraments checked off. Studies show that creating strong Catholic families through the involvement of parents helps young people see their faith alive and a part of their daily experience.
This represents a radical role reversal in typical Catholic religious education, but it’s really just an application of the Church’s mandate to form adults so that families can catechize their young. When this occurs, children are taught the faith as a way of life and not just as a weekly class.
Families will commit to coming two times a month for formation at the Cathedral; there will be various days/times available for formation. The first meeting of the month will begin with prayer together and have children go to learning rooms at the parish while parents receive their presentation on the same topic of faith. In the second meeting of the month, the family will remain together for the formation and discussion of faith with other families. This structural change is to benefit the building up of community, encouraging parents to pray for one another and share faith.
For youth in 7th grade or older, we will structure Youth Ministry, where they learn to pray, read scripture, and grow in faith with other youth with a focus on deepening their discipleship as followers of Jesus. For more information, please contact Titi Kila.
For questions about Family Faith Formation, please contact Sr. Lisa Marie Doty, FdCC.