.Family Catechetical Models can be implemented along with traditional children's formation or as a complete program with curriculum supported faith formation at home. Family formation should include not only the systematic curriculum, but also recognize and support natural, organic and spontaneous opportunities. The family is, in its place of catechesis, "a Christian education that is more witnessed to than taught, more occasional than systematic, more ongoing and daily than structured into periods." (DC #227) Providing ongoing faith builders for the home to promote an "authentic family spirituality." (DC #230)
Parents are the primary educators of their children. “Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2226) This does not mean parents teach their children solely without the community of the Church to form children's faith. “Catechesis is a responsibility of the entire Christian community. This should not be the work of catechists and priests alone, but of the whole community of the faithful. The Christian community follows the development of catechetical processes, for children, young people and adults, as a duty that involves and binds it directly.” (General Directory for Catechesis, 220).
“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).
- help parents better understand their role as primary catechists
- help families learn how to pray and to discuss their faith together
- 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
- 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.
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
It should be noted here that "“A fully Christian community can exist only when a systematic catechesis of all its members takes place and when an effective and well developed catechesis of adults is regarded as the central task of the catechetical enterprise.” (Adult Catechesis in the Christian Community, 25). Opportunities for adult formation for parents and other adult members of the community for all stages of faith and life should be part of the catechetical process for lifelong and ongoing formation.