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Children's Catechesis: The Four Pillars of Formation for Children and Families
The human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral pillars of formation are used to guide the formation of Catholic priests and deacons throughout the world. The United States Bishops’ document Coworkers in the Vineyard[i] applies these four principles to lay ecclesial ministers, including catechists. In this article, we extend the application to children and families. The terms “religious education,” “catechesis,” and “faith formation” are practically interchangeable in the way parishes use them today. No matter what terms we prefer, it makes sense to concern ourselves with the whole person, who is, by nature, in relationship with other persons. ...As we form children in the faith, it is essential that we incorporate their families. Children’s human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation is inseparable from the families in which they live. Our role as catechists can never replace that of their parents. We have a duty to support family life, even as we model appropriate behavior for our students and insist they practice compassion, kindness, and all the human and theological virtues.