Children’s catechumenate resources

—I am struggling with finding a new source for children’s catechumenate. Can you help?
—I understand your frustration. There is not much available. Here is what I’ve used in various situations over the years. As you well know, you have to pick and choose what fits your children and their families. So, it’s not too “user friendly.” A few ideas:

Journey of Faith is a set of pamphlets for the various periods from Ligouri Press. The caution is you can’t just use them week to week and then when you get through a series, you’re done — onto the next period. For example, you have to choose a “catechumenate pamphlet” that fits with the Liturgy of the Word for that day.

God is Calling is a box set of materials from St. Anthony Messenger Press. It’s intergenerational and great for family sessions. Has some “minimal adaptation” for children’s catechumenate.

Living the Good News is a lectionary-based catechesis resources, but it is only published three seasons of the church year.

Perhaps some other folks will chime in with ideas.

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  1. I really like the Pflaum materials for the 2nd and 3rd graders (Good News) for the dismissal rites for that age group. The only problem is that they are only for the school year. There is also one for 4th,5th, and 6th graders. I have not used that one because most of the students who are in our RCIA for youth are Hispanic and many of them have language difficulties, so I create my own sessions for them.

  2. You raise an excellent point! Cultural adaptation for Hispanic children is extremely important and a big challenge for many folks. I don’t have much experience in this arena, but I would love to hear more about how you create your sessions and what adaptations you make.
    Another idea that I will offer is to look at the family sessions from the various publsihers. Particularly, the family sessions that are offered in the sacramental preparation guide books. I often get ideas there for doing family sessions when we talk about sacraments. And, I get other more general ideas, too.

  3. Michele Laughlin posted this information on the TeamRCIA Facebook page (

    Here’s a link to a good list of resources–I’ve personally used “A Child’s Journey” specifically for RCIA for children. I’ve also used ‘Learning Centers for First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and the Whole Community” by Doris Murphy as well as “Learning Centers for Confirmation” by Doris Murphy

  4. We continue to struggle with what to do with children coming late for sacraments mostly First Communion. I am specifically talking about baptized children who may have little or no catechesis. The parish reality is that parents want a fast track or at least a prescribed track and do not understand if there is not some consistency or benchmarks. They are very aware of what you do for one person and want the same. The risk of a set path is that some will get more than they need and others less but at least it keeps the peace. Have you seen any models that are effective and even provide some self sorting? Is sacrament catch up ever a good option, if so when?

  5. Hi Cathy. I don’t work with children, so I don’t have a lot of pastoral strategies to share. But the dilemma you describe doesn’t seem much different from adults seeking sacraments who want a fast track or a prescribed track. In those instances, a parish has to decide what its primary values are. In my experience, the primary values in many parishes are keeping the peace and maintaining a high number of people in their program. As long as we value those outcomes over conversion and discipleship, we will not be able to provide effective preparation for the seekers.

    If, on the other hand, we make true conversion to a life of discipleship in Christ the goal, some will turn a way and go find an “easy” parish. That is the cost of holding fast to our values. But I think the alternative cost is higher. There is a spiritual and psychological cost to pretending to provide formation and turning out groups of “in-name-only” Catholics every year, on schedule.

    Having said that, I don’t think it’s a black and white, our-way-or-no-way proposition. In instances where I have encountered resistance from seekers, I have found that if I am patient, and if I bend as far as I can without abandoning the ultimate goal of true conversion, most of the resistance eventually fades. Not always. Some leave. But those who stay find the true joy in Christ that they didn’t know they were seeking when they came to “get their sacrament.”

  6. I read your response several times and the key here is that, we do far too little for the parents and our focus is on the children. I think even the best catechesis and apprenticeship model for the children is not effective unless we have done the same for the parents who may be fully initiated Catholics. More than parent sessions, we need great upfront discernment for the parents. That is where the process you described above for true conversion will have the most impact. If anyone has a great upfront discernment process for parents of children who are and is willing to share, I would love to talk.

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