Diocesan Board of Education
Diocese of Belleville
BUSINESS AND NON-INSTRUCTIONAL OPERATIONS
Parish and Local Board Responsibilities in Adult Education
The major catechetical documents of the Church ask that adult education become a central thrust in the Church's educational ministry at the national, diocesan and parish level. (See quotations on following page)
These ideals will not become a reality without some attempts to establish norms and guidelines for adult faith formation in every parish. Parishes are asked to make the following steps to insure that adult education assumes its desired role in the Church=s educational ministry.
- Parish leadership shall establish an on-going parish group to investigate possible adult education opportunities for the local parish. Connections with local resources -- counselors, schools, community colleges, public health departments, hospitals, Catholic lawyers and doctors, etc., can provide possible resources at the local level for both speakers or presenters and educational ideas.
- This planning group can be part of the local Board of Education, or part of an education committee of the parish Council, or a separate planning group working for adult learning experiences. (It is not the diocese's wish to determine the local structure, but only to state that some structure exists and that parishioners have somevoice in the planning.)
- An appropriate budget shall be provided to buy or rent programs, invite speakers, furnish audio/visual equipment, e.g., videotapes, and further the training of local adult education leaders. Many video resources are available through the Office of Education audio-visual department. The following are suggested ways that a parish might choose to determine a realistic beginning budget for adult education:
- Allot an amount based on the number of families, e.g., $300 per one hundred families.
- Determine a small percentage of the present educational budget, e.g., 3% of the entire educational budget for a parish with a school or 20% of the educational budget for parishes without a school.
Church Teachings on Adult Formation
“One must admit that in various communities, the formation of adults has been taken for granted or perhaps carried out in connection with certain events, not infrequently in an infantile way. Because certain external or traditional supports are sometimes lacking, a grave imbalance is created insofar as catechesis has devoted considerable attention to children while the same has not happened in the catechesis of young people and adults.” Adult Catechesis in the Christian Community, International Council for Catechesis, #22.
“Catechesis is therefore for adults of every age, including elderly.” (Caechesi Tradendae, Pope John Paul II, #45).
“Formal programs of adult education at the parish and diocesan levels deserve adequate attention and support, including professional staffing and realistic funding. Adult education should also have a recognized place in the structure of church-sponsored education at all levels, parish, diocesan and national.” To Teach As Jesus Did, #43.
For a generation the Church has insisted repeatedly that adult faith formation is “the chief form of catechesis” (General catechetical directory, #20; National Catechetical directory, #188), is “situated not at the periphery of the Church=s educational mission but at its center@ (To Teach As Jesus Did,#43), is Athe principal form of catechesis” (Catechesi Tradendae, Pope John Paul II,#43), is “essential to who we are and what we do as Church” (SLF,#157), and is in fact “the central task in the catechetical enterprise” (Adult Catechesis in the Christian Community,#25) to be regarded as “a Preferential option.” (Adult Catechesis in the Christian community,#29).
“Today, perhaps more than ever before, it is important to recognize that learning is a lifelong experience.” (To Teach As Jesus Did, #43).
“The catechesis of...adults aims at teaching them to meditate on the Word of God in personal prayer, practicing it in liturgical prayer, and internalizing it at all times in order to bear fruit in a new life. Catechesis is also a time for the discernment and education of popular piety.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2688.
Approved: January 15, 1980
Revised: April 8, 1998
Office of Education Diocese of Belleville