What Is Faith Formation? (Catechesis)

Cover of the book, "Rediscovering Catholicism", by Matthew KellyDiscipleship is the goal of all faith formation. Guided by this goal, faith formation seeks to inform, form, and transform individuals, families, and the entire community in the Catholic faith.

This three-fold aim includes:

  • nurturing people's minds and hearts in the wisdom of the Catholic faith so that who they are and how they live is deeply influenced by what they "know" (inform),
  • nurturing people's identity and lifestyle in Christian discipleship (form),and
  • empowering people to live their faith so that the world is transformed by the Christian vision (transform)

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Quite early on, the name catechesis was given to the totality of the Church's efforts to make disciples, to help men and women believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life, thus building up the body of Christ. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #4)

The aim of catechetical activity consists in precisely this: to encourage a living, explicit and fruitful profession of faith. (General Directory for Catechesis #66)

The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ. All evangelizing activity is understood as promoting communion with Jesus Christ. Starting with the "initial" conversion of a person to the Lord, moved by the Holy Spirit through the primary proclamation of the Gospel, catechesis seeks to solidify and mature the first adherence. It proposes to help those who have just converted "to know better this Jesus to whom he has entrusted himself: "to know his 'mystery,' the kingdom of God proclaimed by him, the requirements and comments contained in his Gospel message, and the paths that he has laid down for anyone who wishes to follow him. (GDC #80)