Family & Intergenerational Faith Formation Survey Report
In the Spring of 2023, NCCL conducted a national survey to identify how Catholic parishes are implementing family faith formation and intergenerational (all ages together) faith formation. A total of 303 Catholic parishes completed the survey. Here are several key findings:
#1. Family Faith Formation Practices
The survey asked parishes to rate eight practices in family faith formation. The top three responses include 1) providing families with resources, 2) whole family experiences at church, and 3) teaching and supporting parents.
The second question asked about the type of family programming their parish offers. The top three responses were 1) family sacramental preparation programs, 2) family programs at church, and 3) at-home family activities.
#2. Intergenerational Faith Formation Practices
The survey asked parishes to rate nine practices in intergenerational faith formation. The top two responses (Sunday Mass) describe settings that are more multi-generational (multiple generations gathered together) than intergenerational. When we speak of intergenerational we mean an intentional approach or strategy to engage people with other generations: building relationships, learning together, sharing stories, praying with each other, serving together, and more. Sunday Mass has the potential for becoming much more intentionally intergenerational when the generations have the opportunity to interact in meaningful ways. The responses to the next top responses focused on building intergenerational relationships and doing activities together – practices that are more intentionally intergenerational.
The second question asked about the type of intergenerational programming their parish offers. The top responses were seasonal or occasional intergenerational programs, followed by intergenerational service projects, and monthly intergenerational learning.
#3. Challenges in Offering Family or Intergenerational Faith Formation
The final question asked about the challenges leaders faced in offering family or intergenerational faith formation. Nineteen responses surfaced repeatedly in the 486 individual responses to the question. Among the most mentioned challenges were the following:
This is the first report of the survey findings. The second phase of the research will include reports on the parishes that are offering family and/or intergenerational faith formation programming. These reports will be available through Fall 2023 on the NCCL Catholic website.
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Catholic Parish Family Faith Formation Profiles