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‘The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called "the domestic church," a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1666)

The family is a community of love and life, made up of 'a complex of interpersonal relationships … - married life, fatherhood and motherhood, filiation and fraternity – through which each human person is introduced into the "human family" and into the "family of God" which is the Church' (John Paull II, Familiaris Consortio 15)

The new Directory for Catechesis tells us:

‘The family is … the natural place in which faith can be lived in a simple and spontaneous manner. It has a unique privilege: transmitting the Gospel by rooting it in the context of profound human values:

On this human base, Christian initiation is more profound:

  • The awakening of the sense of God;
  • The first steps in prayer
  • Education of the moral conscience
  • Formation in the Christian sense of human love
  • Understood as a reflection of the love of God the Father, the Creator
  • A Christian education more witnessed to than taught
  • More occasional than systematic
  • More on-going and daily than structured into periods.’ (227)

These images and descriptions of the Christian family offer a wonderful vision of Christian family life, carrying both great joys but also significant challenges.

The Christian community itself is a ‘family of families’, thus ‘Family Catechesis’ recognises a number of dimensions; catechesis with the family, of the family and in or by the family.

Family Catechesis

"Family catechesis.... precedes, accompanies, and enriches all other forms of catechesis. Furthermore, in places where anti-religious legislation endeavours even to prevent education in the faith, and in places where widespread unbelief or invasive secularism makes real religious growth practically impossible, "the church of the home" remains the one place where children and young people can receive an authentic catechesis …..  Encouragement must also be given to the individuals or institutions that, through person-to-person contacts, through meetings, and through all kinds of pedagogical means, help parents to perform their task: The service they are doing to catechesis is beyond price." (Catechesi Tradendae (On Catechesis in Our Time) 68

The Directory for Catechesis outlines different forms of family catechesis:

Catechesis in the family - 227, 228

Catechesis with the family - 229, 230

Catechesis of the family - 231

Accompaniment at particular moments  232

c. The catechesis of parents who are asking to have their children baptised: 

d. The catechesis of parents whose children are making the journey of Christian initiation:.

e. Intergenerational catechesis envisions the journey of faith as a formative experience not aimed at a particular age group but shared among different generations within a family or a community, on the pathway marked out by the liturgical year. "