Forming Disciples

Faith Formation

The Forming Disciples in the New Evangelization

 “Who has encountered Christ desires to know him as much as possible, as well as to know the plan of the Father which he revealed. Knowledge of the faith (fides quae) is required by adherence to the faith (fides qua). (252) Even in the human order the love which one person has for another causes that person to wish to know the other all the more. Catechesis, must, therefore, lead to ‘the gradual grasping of the whole truth about the divine plan’, (253) by introducing the disciples of Jesus to a knowledge of Tradition and of Scripture, which is ‘the sublime science of Christ.’ (254) By deepening knowledge of the faith, catechesis nourishes not only the life of faith but equips it to explain itself to the world. The meaning of the Creed, which is a compendium of Scripture and of the faith of the Church, is the realization of this task.” (General Directory of Catechesis no. 85.) 

The Forming Disciples Standards (2022) will be used in parishes and Catholic elementary schools throughout the Diocese of Buffalo. Its intended use is for children of elementary school age (K-8th Gr); however, these guidelines are easily adaptable for use in the family faith formation setting. The standards can be accessed through the Parishes & Schools Resource Portal. Please contact your Principal, Pastor or Catechetical Leader for the password.

The Diocese remains committed to implementing the curriculum using these four methods:

Participation in the Sacramental life of the Church is vital, therefore, attendance at weekend Mass is compulsory, and Confession is encouraged monthly.  Attending Liturgical and social activities in the parish community are recommended and encouraged. 

Catholic Schools (K-8th Gr) Parish Edition Resource

Students will experience catechesis (5x/week). The Religion teachers will focus on adherence to the Diocese Standards (August 15, 2022), using the parish edition resource, ensuring that Catholic school students are given opportunities to experience the Faith outside the classroom. The Religion teacher must be a strong, practicing, Catholic, who exemplifies Christian virtue, possesses a firm understanding of the Faith, and who can accompany children in their appreciation, practical application, and knowledge of the Faith. 
Catholic schools must provide Faith- based experiences for students and their families outside the classroom, through community volunteer, opportunities to serve during the weekend Masses, participation in the liturgical celebrations, visits to parish and shrines, as well as regular diversified prayer experiences, including: Adoration, First Friday, First Saturday devotions. In this way, students and their families are presented with opportunities to experience the Faith in a deep and meaningful way, in the parish and in the home. 


Content in the Faith Formation Model Document
  • Catholic Schools Parish Edition (K-8th Grade)  
  • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (3-6-year -olds)  
  • Family Faith Formation (K-6th Grade)  
    • Monthly Family Gathering Sample Outline 
    • Hybrid Model 
    • At Home/ Online Model 
    • In- Community Model 
  • Middle School (7th and  8thGrade) 
  • High School (9th – 12 th Grade) 
  • Adaptive (Special Needs) Family Catechesis (K-12th

What are the Family Formation Modules?

Family Faith Formation should total 36 hours of direct catechesis every year and should follow one of the three approved models:  
  1. Hybrid Family Faith Formation: Families meet 1x/ month at the parish + Children are then dropped off at parish for 2 additional classes / month. These 2 lessons are taught by a trained catechist at the parish.
  2. At Home/Online Family Faith Formation: Families gather 1x/month at the parish + Children are taught 2 lessons / month by parents and or caregivers at home or online.
  3. In Community Family Faith Formation: Families gather 2x/ month at the parish and complete the entire unit during the month. Children and parents engage in systematic grade level catechesis by trained catechists.

Please reference this outline sample for the Monthly Family Faith Formation Gathering in our DOB Faith Formation Models Document.

Children entering this program will have a unique opportunity to experience a deep and relational quality with our ever present and loving God.  Through the exploration of the Atrium, which surrounds the child with beauty, awe, and wonder, the children begin to understand the virtue of quiet, mindful moments.  Children are guided by trained catechists who help them to explore their curiosity about God and the beauty of our Catholic Faith. Certified catechists are trained to meet the 90 hours of required formation for CGS Level 1 certification.

Families meet a parish 1-2 x/month and learn 1-2 chapters/ month.  

The Adaptive Family Catechesis Model encourages families with special learning needs to come together for a monthly gathering at the parish. This model caters to the unique needs of the families.

Families collectively delve into one thematic lesson from the unit during these gatherings. 

To enhance learning, families incorporate take-home activities and actively engage in prayer, devotions,  liturgical celebrations, and various community parish activities throughout the month. This model adapts to the diverse learning needs within families, seamlessly blending structured catechesis with a flexible, family-driven exploration of the Faith. It also encourages active involvement in the parish community, fostering a warm and inclusive atmosphere for families to grow in their faith journey together. 

Family Resources to Connect Faith to Sunday Liturgy

52 Sunday 

From the Archdiocese of Detroit, simple and insightful ways for families to spend time together learning about the Catholic faith

Family Zone Newsletter

From the Rochester Diocese, a great resource that links the Sunday readings with activities and faith practices

Protecting God's Children

Everyone who works with children or vulnerable adults needs to be in compliance with VIRTUS (Protecting God’s Children).

Children are required to receive awareness training too; we currently use the “Empowering God’s Children” program. 

The deadline to report this training is Nov 1st.
All reporting is done online through the VIRTUS system. For more information, contact your VIRTUS administrator.

Recommended Resources:

Each of these recommended resources correlates to the 2022 promulgated standards

  • OSV- Alive In Christ
  • Loyola – Christ Our Life (2024)
  • Loyola – Finding God

Sacramental Information: The Diocese of Buffalo policies on sacraments

For Leaders: Planning your Faith Formation year and beyond can be challenging! Check out some of these resources for ideas and best practices. Can’t find what you’re looking for? New and need guidance? Contact us at 716-847-8760 for assistance!

Questions? Contact Us.