Family Catechesis Training
Following Bishop Marcus' pastoral letter of 2016, a change is being initiated in the age at which children can be confirmed from the previous norm of 13+ to ages 10/11/12, corresponding to school Year 6.
This change is in its transition stage for the next year or so please check with your parish priest to find out exactly what to do in your own case.
To go along with this change the Bishop has recommended Family Catechesis as the new norm for all Confirmation preparation in our diocese. Eventually Family catechesis will be the norm for all the early sacraments of Baptism, First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion but we are starting with Confirmation as the age change means a new resource has to be prepared and a new catechists training course is being delivered.
The first course of Family Catechesis training (for both new and experienced catechists) at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Hinsley Hall in Leeds has been completed.
Twenty-one people attended and on the final day, Saturday 14th October 2017, they let us know what they thought. Here are just a few of the overwhelmingly positive comments:
'Excellent - thought provoking'
'Very worthwhile and inspirational'
'Very useful and valuable experience'
'Excellent: educational; affirming; enjoyable'
'Very enjoyable, good to share ideas with each other'
'Thanks you for such an inspiring and confidence building course'
'I enjoyed it very much. I was initially nervous and cynical about the idea of family catechesis but now I feel very much inspired'
Only one person felt that their expectations had not been met: 'I came to an initial meeting some months ago and believed the course would be practical and not reflective'
There were practical opportunities to work on the new (developing) diocesan confirmation resource but there was also plenty of time for prayerful reflection and sharing. One person reflected on this: 'I expected to hate journal writing but actually quite enjoyed it.'
The diocesan working group drafting the new Confirmation resource includes catechists, head teachers, RE coordinators, youth ministry workers and family life ministry.
The principles of Family Catechesis come from several Church documents including Catechesi Tradendae which states that Family Catechesis:
- precedes other forms of catechesis by transmitting and witnessing to human and religious values from children's earliest years, within the home
- precedes and accompanies other forms of catechesis by the specific practice and behaviours adopted within the home at significant moments in family life
- accompanies and enriches catechesis from outside the home by validating and implementing that teaching and by showing how faith is lived in practice CT 68
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that:
The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. The right and duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable. CCC 2221
And the General Directory of Catechesis reaffirms the need for adult catechesis as the main method, which allows parents into the process rather than children being taught in a class like situation by a catechists acting as a teacher:
Catechesis for adults, since it deals with persons who are capable of an adherence that is fully responsible, must be considered the chief form of catechesis. All other forms, which are indeed always necessary, are in some way oriented to it. GDC 59
Thomas Groome tells us that essentially catechesis is the "activity of re-echoing or re-telling the story of Christian Faith that has been handed down." Parents are best placed to share their faith journey with their own children, even if they feel that they do not have a great grasp of the details of our faith. The new resource parents and children will be working through together has all the content they will need.
Family Catechesis is a process whereby parents and their children work together through the different user-friendly sections of the Confirmation programme. This happens at regular parish based meetings, which are facilitated by catechists, and at home.
If you are interested in Family Catechesis, you are invited to join in any of our diocesan trainings which is delivered over two evenings and one Saturday.
All the feedback from the first training course, including suggestions for improving the experience, will be considered as we move on to the second and third delivery of this course for new and experienced family catechists later this term and in the new year.
Please see the attached document for DATES.
Everybody's welcome but BOOKING is ESSENTIAL. Contact Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org