Parish RE / Faith Formation


We’re moving into our 2nd year of the change to Family Faith Formation from the standard classroom based RE. I was wondering how the program is working at your parish (if you use it), how much is costs and if parents are really pushing to go back to the classroom.

I know for us it was a tough decisision to stay at this parish for RE. The family program didn’t work at all for us (we only have one Catholic parent in our household). The kids really struggled with it and said they missed going to class on Wed. We actually switched to this parish just for the RE program they had prior to the family program. It was expensive but the conveniece of it made the program well worth it.

They made the change without really asking for any feedback from parents, and the feedback they did get I think got ignored. I know that many (most?) parents want to go back to the classroom based program and are really upset that the price wasn’t reduced when the program was changed. We see it as now since the parents have to do the work of teaching and they attend class as one group, there’s now added family days that need to be attended, there’s no more busing the kids over from the public school and no more meal…what exactly are we paying for?

We struggled with the decision, but ended up only signing up one child for RE this year. If we would have signed up both, it would have cost us $300 (with the 1st communion year costing $50 more than a non-sacrament year).

So TLDR version - If your parish has a version of family faith formation instead of classroom; how is it working out - are parents asking for the classroom back - does the DRE seem to listen, and maybe most important of all…is it as expensive as it is where we’re at??


Faith Formation is classroom based here (they tried the Family thing back 20ish years ago when it was the fad, it failed miserably).

$20 per year, per kid which is waived if you cannot afford it (no sort of means test, you just have to say “I cannot afford it”). No transportation, no meal. Wed evening from 6 to 7:15. There is a class/Bible Study for parents at the same time.


With the classroom program, the K-6 kids used to have class from like 3:45 -5 on Wed then we all ate. The program was so slick and convenient. I thought the family program was starting to fail last year, they lost a lot of people by either not signing up or just moving to the Lutheran church.

I’m honestly surprised they stuck with it again this year. By the end of last year they went from probably over 100 parents and kids at the first couple “meetings” to maybe 20-30 by the end.


We are doing it again, too. Some changes made for the catechists (we now have a binder with all the lessons & handouts for the year) but still using the format of monthly classroom, with speaker session for parents & take-home activity packet. I was ready to give up at the end last year. My daughter was reluctant to enroll granddaughter again, saying, "She doesn’t cooperate & I can’t teach her. If I sign her up, you have to do the activities with her. (Daughter is going through her own crisis, getting divorce, etc) My last class was absolutely awful. I was asked to combine 6th grade with my 4th grade at the last minute, didn’t have enough materials & wound up doing way too much talking - definitely lost their interest. So last May, I was done. After a break from RE activities, daughter decided to enroll granddaughter again, said she would try & so some of the activities. I decided in June that I would give it another try & was assigned 3rd grade, which is granddaughter’s class.


We were pretty much the same. Very reluctant to sign up again, basically waited until the last weekend before the deadline. It came down to not driving 10 min out of town for Sunday morning classroom. We have two kids of RE age and did decide to only sign up one (it’s his 1st communion year). We did not sign up our 4th grader as again, it would have been $300 and if the parents are doing all the work; what are we paying for.


We’re trying something new this year-----the 2nd Sunday of the month 4—6:30. They tried 1 school night every week and it “interfered” with kids’ sport activities.


Where we’re at, sports usually stay clear of Wed night since that’s normally religion night. As soon as the parish here gave up Wed night classes sports started in. There will be nobody at the first parent night here as that will be the first real night of football for kids K-4.


So even if you child attends a Catholic school, faith formation is now back at the parishes?


Depends on the parish/Diocese rules.

Here, everything except Confirmation Prep is done in the Catholic school.


Ah—so it’s locally different. It must suck if you move often enough.


Heck, it varies between here and the parish 1 mile up the road!!


Really? That’s bizarre!

It’s great that different geographic areas are able to cater to the population and their needs. Nonetheless, that many differences just seems crazy.


Are the instigators of this program still convinced that it’s the way to go?


I’m a catechist at my parish and this is our first year implementing the family based faith formation. However we will offer both options, the family based on Sunday mornings and the classroom setting for just the kids on Wednesday evenings. I am a Wednesday evening teacher, the Sunday’s just wouldn’t work for us. We came to the decision to split into 2 days with the 2 programs after sending out parent surveys and getting almost 200 responses. We are a large parish that is also a stewardship parish and all religious education classes for both kids and adults are FREE and even include a lot of materials like an age appropriate bible and workbooks. My son will be going to 5th grade classes which is confirmation year here and he will also get a missal and a backpack, on top of the other stuff. I feel so blessed to be in such a generous parish, having 4 school aged kids. I don’t know how people can afford it all when you are charged a lot.


I live in a heavily Baptist area and we will never have to worry about most youth sports programs trying to have games on Wednesday evenings, thank goodness.


Actually our family based program may be a little different than the OP’s, not sure. In ours the kids willl be taught for one hour by teachers while the adults go to their own adult class, and then for the final half hour the families will be combined together.


That is an EXCELLENT idea. We tried that last year and will again this year. Few adults want to participate :frowning:


That’s quite worrisome—only understandable if they already have a strong faith and are well catechised, and/or have other pressing matters that they attend to.


When I did first communion I’d say at least half of the parents were there to get their kids into Catholic school, this sort of approach would have been interesting.


For most folks, they look at it as “we have a built in babysitter that evening”. They will be anywhere from half an hour to 90 minutes late to pick up their kids :frowning:

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