As the hub of lifelong faith formation, the parish – both the people and the place – weaves together essential strands within the fabric of effective Catholic education.
Goals for this new celebration, which began during the Year of Faith (2012) include:
- Honoring those serving in parish religious education
- Sharing the contributions parish communities are making to sound education in the Catholic faith
- Helping build bridges between Catholic parish and school educational programs as well as other entities that provide religious instruction and ongoing faith formation.
National Parish Religious Education Week highlights the vital role of parish in fulfilling the Church’s mission of evangelization and catechesis.
The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) celebrated the first National Parish Religious Education Week in November 2013. The idea of a distinct, national celebration of parish catechesis has surfaced repeatedly over the past few decades. Local and regional celebrations already exist in some parts of the country. NCEA’s offerings build on these efforts as well as the service of women and men, adults, youth, and children, laity, ordained, and professed religious in echoing the Gospel and helping people grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.
- Since one of the goals is to have parish-based programs featured in the celebration, Catechetical Sunday seemed too early as many programs for adults, youth, and children are not fully operational by the third Sunday in September.
- Several communities already honor both school and parish programs/personnel together on Catechetical Sunday and we do not want to undermine that collaboration.
- Early November connects with the celebration of the communion of saints and offers natural opportunities to connect with families and the whole parish community leading into the new liturgical year.
- For 40 years, NCEA has celebrated Catholic Schools in a week distinct from Catechetical Sunday.
An annual celebration guide is available in digital pdf format only. The 2014 guide is posted on the NCEA website as a free download. The document provides an overview of the celebration, outlines seven suggestions for activities - or a “week” of ideas - to mark the occasion, and offers related samples in English and Spanish that can be used for local celebrations. A social media campaign will accompany the actual celebration week. Follow NCEA on Facebook or @NCEATalk on Twitter.
- National Parish Reigious Education Week Overview
- National Parish Religious Education Week Celebration Guide (PDF)