How would you rate your experience of parish-based religious education?

We received a wide range of responses to our request to America readers to rate their experiences of parish-based religious education. Some, like Maria Barrera of Brooklyn, N.Y., described religious education as a “wholesome” time for her children that positively affected how her family practiced the faith, thanks to the hard work of her parish and her children’s Catholic school. Many catechists also noted that their work provided welcome challenges to their own faith. One catechist from California explained, “Helping families has helped me think outside the box with ways to creatively connect with God in my own life.” Other readers, largely students or parents who did not have access to Catholic schools alongside their parishes, described their experience in opposite terms. Madeline LeBlanc from Sunshine, La., went so far as to say that her religious education “frustrated” rather than fostered her faith. Several other readers commented that their faith had “survived” religious education.

Advertisement

The majority of responses, however, described parish-based religious education as having little to no impact on their Catholic faith and practice. Matt Browne, a young seminarian from Long Island, N.Y., wrote, “Most of my formation as a Catholic Christian did not occur during C.C.D., which I attended for eight years of my life.” Elizabeth Pfantz of Appleton, Wis., had a similar experience. “C.C.D. has had a neutral impact on my faith,” she said. Ms. Pfantz, alongside many other readers, called for families and parish educators to work together to improve religious education: “We need to better engage students so that they are encouraged to live their faith outside of the classroom.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Andrew Di Liddo
1 year 7 months ago

Interesting topic. I am a cradle Catholic who was dutifully dropped off every Sunday morning for catechism along with other fasting children who were fainting right and left from low blood sugar in the class room. Making children fast before catechism and expecting them to learn is the dumbest move of Catholic parishes. Then, those fasting children who did not fall during class were shuttled off to the gymnasium for Mass while the parents were in the main church. Kneeling on a concrete floor in the gymnasium until more of us dropped engendered in me a great love for the faith (sarcasm). I realize that the guidelines at "America" ask us to be charitable. However, I find it difficult to be charitable when adults institute these practices in parishes of the church of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Kathleen Perry
1 year 7 months ago

For any statistical percentage that you print on charts or graphs, it is important to list the number of respondents surveyed. This helps readers to better interpret the results. The accepted way to report this on the bottom of the chart is N= (the number of respondents). Thank you.

Advertisement

The latest from america

When “American Vandal” debuted on Netflix last year, it seemed to be positioning itself as the raucous send-up of the true crime genre. In Season Two, there is a much sharper edge to this new premise.
Jim McDermottSeptember 17, 2018
Knowing that the future of the church will largely be in the hands of Latinos, it is paramount that Catholic schools help form them in the faith and help them become our future leaders.
The EditorsSeptember 17, 2018
Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, president of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, speaks at a news conference officially launching the center in February 2015. Also pictured is Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, head of the Pontifical Commission for Child Protection. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Hans Zollner, S.J., a member on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, shares his hopes for the church as a crisis that never ceases to shock and sorrow continues.
Jim McDermottSeptember 17, 2018
The film tells the story of Louie Zamperini, who spent 47 days at sea before being rescued, imprisoned and tortured by the Japanese.
John AndersonSeptember 14, 2018