What's in a Name?
Do we call it Faith Formation? Religious Education? CCD? Catechism?
Faith Formation is a term that envisions a process of formation in faith from birth to death. It is a life long process. Faith Formation encompasses all ages - infants, children, youth, young adults, adults, elderly. It brings all participants into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ by bringing all the faithful together to learn, share and participate in the Catholic Church. Faith Formation means that we are always learning through the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, prayer, liturgy and God’s presence in our lives.
Religious Education usually implies traditional classroom instruction only. This is a limited process where children and youth are brought together to learn, share and participate in the faith on a limited basis. This term replaced CCD to describe what we actual do - educate for religion.
CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) is a specific organization that has written materials for use in instruction. The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine was an association established in 1562 in Rome for the purpose of providing religious education. In its more modern usage, CCD became the term used for the religious teaching program of the Catholic Church. These classes are taught to school age children to learn the basic doctrines of their faith. It was later replaced with the term Religious Education.
Catechism means 1) oral instruction, 2) a manual for catechizing, 3) a set of formal questions put as a test. It was a term used when instruction was only done by rote memory. It now refers to the bountiful resources published in the 1990s where the facts of the faith are available to all in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
What is Catechesis? Catechesis is Greek for "to echo the Gospel". This means that we pass on the message of Jesus Christ. A catechist is an individual who does this.