Adult Faith Formation

Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?"  
-Luke 24:32


“The Church’s catechetical mission aims the faithful of all ages to grow in both human and Christian maturity,enriching the whole of life with the leaven of the Gospel” (Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us A Pastoral Plan for Adult Faith Formation in the United States, Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops 64).

 In Adult Faith Formation we want “to encourage a living, explicit and fruitful profession of faith” (General Directory for Catechesis, 66).  As stated in Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us, living faith involves fully participating in Sunday Mass, reading of Scripture, being involved in the parish community, prayer, works of service and loving our neighbors. Explicit faith is being in a personal relationship with Jesus, a growing in love with Jesus.  Fruitful profession of faith results in experiencing the love of Jesus in a personal relationship and as a result of it, all our actions become fruitful whether it is in a soup kitchen or volunteering in any parish activity that benefits the whole parish community (50-63).

 In the Pastoral Plan, the Bishops identify six dimensions that require growth in “ongoing development of a living, explicit, and fruitful Christian faith:”

Parishes in the Diocese of Dallas offer many ways to engage adults along their faith journey such as bible study groups, small faith sharing groups, social outreach to the poor and the homeless, retreats and prayer services during special liturgical seasons.  If you do not already belong to a parish, you may go to the one that is closest to your residence.

Visit the Catholic Diocese of Dallas Parish Finder to find the Catholic church nearest you.




Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us (1999)

A Pastoral Plan for Adult Faith Formation in the United States

Offers a vision of adult catechesis at the center of all catechesis. Provides goals, principles, content and approaches for implementing the vision. 

OHWB Summary
OHWB PowerPoint



General Directory for Catechesis (1999)

An essential companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the General Directory for Catechesis (GDC) provides religious educators, teachers, and catechists with a single point of reference for all aspects of catechetical instruction, for content and pedagogy, as well as for methodology. Beginning with an introductory reflection of how contemporary human and ecclesial conditions have impacted the preaching of the Gospel, the Directory moves through a detailed presentation of the goals and essential elements of catechesis, from its role in the Church's mission of evangelization, to norms and guidelines for its presentation, to adaptations for various groups and situations. 


National Directory for Catechesis (2005)

The National Directory for Catechesis (NDC)  The NDC provides basic theological and pastoral principles for catechesis in the U.S. and offers guidelines for the application of these principles that will continue the renewal of catechesis in the U.S. The NDC focuses on the context, meaning, and methodologies for catechesis.




Catholic Catechism for Adults (2006)

The presence of the Catholic Church in the United States reaches back to the founding days of our country through the leadership of Archbishop John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States. His story, like other stories at the start of the chapters in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, gives us a glimpse into the lives of Catholics who lived out their faith throughout our country's history. Each chapter in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults includes stories, doctrine, reflections, quotations, discussion questions, and prayers to lead the reader to a deepening faith. The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults is an excellent resource for preparation of catechumens in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and for ongoing catechesis of adults.


Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994)

Provides a “sure and authentic reference” for Catholic doctrine organized according to four pillars: Creed, Sacraments, Morality and Prayer. A resource for developing other catechisms and materials. 





Adult Catechesis in the Christian Community (1990)

The document focuses on the most significant aspects of the catechesis of adults. It touches on common issues, common problems and probable solutions, which seem prevalent throughout the world, fully recognizing that inculturation will have to be made in the local Churches. This document is addressed to the whole People of God, gathered in the diverse Christian communities throughout the world, under the guidance of their Pastors. In a more direct way it has in mind those lay catechists who are already engaged in the catechesis of adults or who are preparing themselves for this service.








Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (1988)

A direct result of Vatican II. It restored the catechumenate and transformed the experience of becoming Catholic into a public journey of conversion marked by stages and rites. (The catechumenate provides the model for all catechesis.)

Catechesi Tradendae (1979)

Emphasized the christocentric nature of catechesis: “The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ…” (#5) Catechesis is for everyone in the Church and needs to be systematic. It is a “moment” in the process of evangelization and affirmed experience as a legitimate “point of departure” for catechesis. 



Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975)

Recognized that proclaiming the Gospel to all people (evangelization) is central to the mission of the church. Identified catechesis, along with preaching, as forms of evangelization




Evangelii Gaudium (2013)
 The Joy of the Gospel

“The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.”

– Pope Francis (Evangelii Gaudium)


Amoris Laetitia (2016)
The Joy of Love

The Church in the United States, together with the Church throughout the world, has found in Pope Francis' Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) a wealth of encouragement, guidance, and wisdom about the beautiful gift and vocation of marriage and family life. Since its release date on April 8, 2016, bishops, lay leaders, and families in the United States have proactively sought to receive Pope Francis's teachings joyfully and to implement them in our shared task of caring for marriages and families. 


Laudato Si (2015)
On Care For Our Common Home

On Care for Our Common Home (Laudato Si') is the new appeal from Pope Francis addressed to "every person living on this planet" for an inclusive dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. Pope Francis calls the Church and the world to acknowledge the urgency of our environmental challenges and to join him in embarking on a new path. This encyclical is written with both hope and resolve, looking to our common future with candor and humility.


Gaudete et Exsultate (2018)

On The Call To Holiness In Today's World

Pope Francis wants to speak to your heart, wherever you're at. In this new apostolic exhortation from Pope Francis, Rejoice and Be Glad, the pope looks at the call to holiness in today's world, with wit, insight, and encouraging counsel.

From how to avoid false forms of holiness, to finding inspiration in the lives of the saints, Pope Francis explores the heights and depths of practical Christian holiness. He invites all Christians to accept Jesus' invitation to live out the fullness of the Beatitudes and to discern and generously respond to one's personal mission.

See how Pope Francis is guiding the Catholic Church's call to holiness in the modern world and how you can be a part of it!