Catechesis is the process of transmitting the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, as the Christian community has received it, understands it, celebrates it, lives it and communicates it in numerous ways. Catechesis or religious education and formation passes on the living message of Jesus Christ in His Church in the living faith of the parents, catechists and the community. The main goal of faith formation is, in essence, a Person…Jesus of Nazareth. (General Directory for Catechesis).
The religious education and formation of young people takes into consideration a holistic view of the person (physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual). It is necessarily linked with their life situation and conditions.
Effective child-centered catechesis embraces specific aims.
- Takes place in and through the family. The role of parents as the first and foremost teachers of their children is respected and reinforced.
- Puts the child in touch with and in communion with Jesus Christ by presenting religious concepts in accord with a child’s age and capacity for understanding and growth.
- Encourages the use of imagination, critical reflection and memory in age appropriate ways.
- Takes place through consciously planned learning experiences.
- Approaches children with reverence for their God given gifts and assists them in making an increasingly personal response to God.
- Fosters a sense of a faith community in the classroom and in the parish.
- Lays the foundation for developing Christian attitudes, values and behavior in a child’s early years.
- Assists children in the growth of their personal prayer life and spirituality.
- Takes place in and through the liturgical and sacramental life of the parish faith community.
- Adapts the process for conscience formation according to age, understanding and circumstances of life (National Catechetical Directory #190).
- Provides an environment for young people to grow in faith, especially through the witness of adults.
- Instills a sense of the mission of Christ and service to the poor.