NCCL Mission



Presented by The NCCL Family Research Team
Paulette Chapman, Joan Weber, and John Roberto


Presented by The NCCL Family Research Team
Paulette Chapman, Joan Weber, and John Roberto


Practices and Models of Family Catechesis

Reporting on the research NCCL is conducting on effective models of family catechesis used by parishes.

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Implementing Family Catechesis in Parishes

Presenting strategies that your parish can use to implement effective family catechesis.

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Session Files, Related Reports Below

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Presentation as PPT
Presentation as PDF
Parish Profiles
Practices for Families & Parents
Intergenerational Survey

​Catholic Parish
Family Faith Formation Profiles

Prepared by Paulette Chapman and Joan Weber

The “Profiles” report presents the parish profiles organized into the following categories:

  1. Family Catechesis as the Primary Model for Parish Catechesis (Usually designed for families with children through middle school young people; and offered monthly,  twice monthly, or weekly)
  2. Family Catechesis within an Intergenerational Model of Catechesis
  3. Family Catechesis Integrated within Children’s Catechesis, including Sacramental Preparation
  4. Seasonal Family Catechesis Gatherings 
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REPORT - From our Insights & Practices Series

Practices for Forming Faith with Families & Parents

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We seek to respond to several key questions that surface when considering faith transmission for children and youth. When it comes to passing faith to the next generation, in our minds, the key questions are:

  1. What do we mean by faith transmission? 
    In short, the faith transmission process culminates when a young person or young adult makes a conscious choice to take their faith and religious practice and make it an integral part of their identity and life. 
  2. What does the research show are the most important contributors to effective faith transmission? 
    The answer—parents and family—has been known for decades, yet most congregations cling to programming models that harness the influence of neither parents nor family. It’s time to get serious about our partnership with the home and understand each other’s roles.
  3. What does the research show are the activities, tasks, and behaviors that bolster faith transmission? 
    While certain activities such as family faith conversation, and behaviors such as “warm” interactions between parents and children, have real impact over time, what’s more important is creating a faith-building culture that renders faith growth normative. “It’s what we do, and it’s who we are.”
  4. What are the implications for faith formation leaders, and the church as a whole? 
    Broadly speaking, the research has voiced the same conclusions for decades: parents and family matter most. Yet, for decades, faith formation programming has clung to variations of a gathered, graded-level, schooling model that perhaps was never as effective as we would like to believe, and has certainly become obsolete in the post-pandemic, digitally-enabled world of today.

Tapping into the research reports from more than a dozen recent studies, we offer a concise, cogent, and hopefully helpful response to each of these four questions. Our goal is to empower you to develop new and innovative approaches and strategies that engage, encourage, and equip parents for family faith transmission and formation. From that work, we are confident, will emerge best practices for the future of faith formation in churches. 

There is no more urgent task for churches today than strengthening parental and family faith and practice. Use this information to assess your current practice, redesign ministry and programming, and create new initiatives that engage, encourage, and equip parents and the whole family at home, church, and school.

Continue reading the article online or download the article in PDF and share it with your leaders and colleagues.

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​2023 Family & Intergenerational
Faith Formation Survey Report

Compiling feedback from a total of 303 Catholic parishes, almost 500 individual contributors.

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Key findings:

  1. Family Faith Formation Practices

    The first question of 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.  
  1.  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: 
    • family participation at Sunday Mass and parish life
    • family participation in family or intergenerational programming
    • family schedules, busy lives, lots of activities
    • getting families to make this a priority, to commit the time, to see the benefits 
    • availability of volunteers, and dedicated leaders committed to family and intergenerational faith formation 
    • support of the pastor, and educating the pastor and church leadership about the importance and benefits of family and intergenerational faith formation
    • changing the paradigm from child-centered to family-centered faith formation

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.  

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