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Implementing Alternative Models of Catechesis

Multiple and alternative models of catechesis go beyond traditional models to meet the varied needs of modern Catholic families and today’s parishes. This article takes a look at different types of catechetical models for schools and parishes and explores ways catechetical and pastoral leaders can harness the benefits of offering alternative models of catechesis to form more students and families. Download and print free resources that will help you explore various forms of faith formation and learn more about Sadlier programs that adapt to alternative catechetical models. 

There are multiple models for Catholic catechesis. Using alternative models of catechesis or incorporating elements from these models into traditional catechetical programs offers options to parishes as they “inform the faith community and candidates for initiation into the Church about the teachings of Christ.” implementing-alternative-models-of-catholic-catechesis-catehcetical-instruction.png

What Are Some Models of Catechesis?

There are multiple models for Catholic catechesis. In a traditional parish classroom model, weekly instruction is offered to children by age or grade level. Instruction follows the traditional academic calendar or the Sundays of the liturgical year.In a traditional school model attend daily or weekly religious education classes to pray together and learn their faith. These lessons follow the traditional academic calendar or the Sundays of the liturgical year. In a family model, family-centered learning takes place onsite at church or school. In an at home model, the parent or guardian is the primary instructor. Instruction features fully individualized learning on a flexible schedule. An intergenerational model brings the whole community, including parishioners of all ages, together to learn about and share faith. In many summer models, an intensive course of religious education is taught in a span of several weeks, usually blending coursework and activities. Finally, a liturgical model offers lectionary-based catechesis and lessons are correlated to the Sunday readings.

What is catechesis? The General Directory for Catechesis states “the definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ.” (80)

Six popular models of catechesis that are being implemented for faith formation. It’s important to understand each model and what differentiates them.

Download a tip sheet with descriptions of each of these six models and use it to assess which models you are currently implementing within your program and which models could be used to reach families and diverse populations.

Six Models of Catechesis

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Why Choose an Alternative Model of Catechesis?

Alternative catechetical models can offer flexibility for both parishes and families and help parishes reach diverse populations. Offering multiple or alternative models for catechesis gives families options and flexibility, and therefore can boost engagement and increase participation in your religious education program.

Family models provide a way to involve parents more directly in the faith formation of their children. An at home model suits parents who choose homeschooling for religion over a more traditional model. This model also provides the leeway needed for families with scheduling difficulties or other extenuating circumstances. Family and at-home models also support those who may not be able to attend regular catechetical sessions, such as those living in rural settings. Intergenerational models engage parishioners of all ages and ground catechesis within a broader parish context. A liturgical model forges a strong tie to Scripture and the liturgical year.

Alternative models of catechesis can offer flexibility for both parishes and families and help parishes reach diverse populations.

Offering multiple or alternative models for catechesis gives families options and flexibility, and therefore can boost engagement and increase participation in your religious education program.

What Model Do You Most Often Use for Catechesis?

Flipped Classroom for Family Models

Experiment with a flipped classroom approach. The flipped classroom philosophy involves taking the portions of learning that typically happen in a classroom (think of the content from formal teaching and readings) and having students complete them at home, ahead of class time. Class time is then spent reinforcing the content that students have read and reviewed before class (think activities, discussion, and projects). In other words, what is typically completed as classwork is homework preceding class, and what is typically assigned as homework, is classwork. This alternative model supports transitioning to an at-home or family-centered catechetical model. 

Download an eBook designed to explain and provide help implementing a flipped classroom approach to religious education.

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Sadlier Programs that Support Multiple Models

We Believe

If you are using the K–8 We Believe or We Live Our Faith catechetical programs, you can easily use the resources below to augment or adjust the program for multiple models. These resources allow directors to adapt the program to be implemented in alternative settings using the general program resources.

Implementing Alternative Models of Catholic Catechesis

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Implementing Alternative Models of Catholic CatechesisDownload Now

Implementing Alternative Models of Catholic Catechesis

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Implementing Alternative Models of Catholic Catechesis

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Christ In Us

The K–8 catechetical program, Christ In Us, can be implemented in six models: traditional parish and school; liturgical (lectionary based); family; at home; and summer models. The program allows users to select a model, and planning sessions are then automatically customized and filtered to suit the selection.


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Resource to Support and Enhance Your Model of Catechesis

Lectionary Planner

Help the students make connections to the weekly readings and supplement with seasonal, Scriptural-based resources. Preview, discuss, and reflect on the readings students will hear at Mass or heard at Mass this week. Download this exclusive Integrating the Lectionary  Planner designed for catechists to inspire connections to the weekly readings in whatever catechetical model you currently use.

Readings, and for inspiration, links to the Weekly Readings, and questions for reflection visit Sadlier’s free Question of the Week feature on Sadlier Connect! 

Models of Catholic Catechesis - Lectionary Planner

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Offering alternative models for catechesis adds flexibility to your catechetical program which may mean that more families can participate in faith formation. Understanding and exploring alternative models is the first step; selecting a catechetical program with resources for multiple models or options for adaptation means you can meet the needs of more children and families in your school or parish.