What is Children’s Faith Formation?
In the Catholic Church, CCD stands for the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. This was actually an association founded in Rome in 1562 for the purpose of providing religious instruction. (See the Catholic Encyclopedia article here.) While the acronym is still widely used, we prefer to call religious education for children simply “children’s faith formation.” Formation is lifelong. The resources used in the Diocese of Tyler are meant to unify and standardize what catechists and parents teach children ages five to twelve. The purpose is to form holy disciples.
The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in their vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care a vocation to a sacred state. (Lumen Gentium, 11)
What Materials Do We Use?
On March 3, 2018, Bishop Strickland decreed that in the Diocese of Tyler the Faith and Life Series published by Ignatius Press is required for children’s faith formation. Student texts are available in English and Spanish for grades 1-8 (see below). These texts are engaging and easy for a catechist or parent to use. A parent might enjoy reading the short lessons with a child. Catechists should cover the material in the lessons from the student book directly. Ignatius Press also offers activity workbooks (and answer keys), teacher manuals and family guides, and parish catechist manuals, so you have a variety of optional materials for instruction.
In engaging the entire Christian family, we will use the opportunity to help parents become teachers of their children. Through targeted teaching materials for parents delivered appropriately, the Diocese can facilitate parents in assuming this God-given role. —Bishop Joseph Strickland, Constitution on Teaching, 16
Recognizing the diversity of our parishes and especially the need for better Spanish-language materials, the Alive in Christ/Vivos en Christos published by Our Sunday Visitor is also approved for children’s faith formation. Pastors, catechists, and others who have questions about curriculum options for faith formation should contact the Director of Faith Formation, Dr. Luke Arredondo.