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​The religious education/faith formation of children and youth is the responsibility of parents/guardians, pastors, and the local parish community. The Code of Canon Law supports this direction.

Pastors of souls especially have the proper and serious duty of seeing to the catechesis of the Christian people so that, through doctrinal formation and experience of the Christian life, the faith of the people may be living, manifest, and active.

The care for catechesis, under the direction of lawful ecclesiastical authority, extends to all members of the Church, to each according to his or her role.

Before all others, parents/guardians are bound to form their children, by word and example, in faith and in Christian living. The same obligation binds sponsors and those who take the place of parents/guardians. Therefore, it is the obligation of the parish leadership to provide religious education programming for children/young people. There are situations where some families choose to homeschool their children/young people. It must be understood that these efforts cannot be done independently of the parish setting. The following guidelines give direction to such efforts.

The primary responsibility of parents/guardians for the education and formation of their children in the faith cannot be interpreted in an isolated way since the family is an integral part of the larger ecclesial community. All religious education must be carried out in a way that builds unity within the Church. Homeschooling must promote the understanding that being a Christian is not a private matter of an individual choice but rather of a personal vocation within the context of the Church lived out in the experience of the parish community.

Since the pastor has the obligation to know the intention of the parents/guardians to homeschool their children/young people, parents/guardians must notify the pastor early in the process. Parents/guardians are required to follow the guidelines set by the pastor and must register their children/young people with the parish director of religious education (DRE)/program coordinator for specific areas of religious education (CRE)​.

Homeschooling parents/guardians are responsible for the participation of their children/young people in the immediate sacramental preparation as required or approved by the parish, through interviews for sacramental readiness, practice of sacramental celebrations, appropriate initiation rites, and retreats. Homeschooling parents/guardians must participate in parish parent/guardian meetings and parent/guardian preparation programs for the sacraments.

Parents/guardians have the responsibility to participate in catechetical formation so that they will be able to prepare their children/young people for the sacraments, in collaboration with the parish community.

Local ordinaries are to ensure that catechists are duly trained to carry out their office properly, namely, that they have an available continuing formation, that they have an appropriate knowledge of the teaching of the Church, and that they learn both the theory and practice of the principles of pedagogy.

With regard to the sacraments of reconciliation, first Communion, and confirmation, parents/guardians must ensure that their children/young people are correctly prepared and connected to the local parish.

The pastor and either the DRE or the CRE will require a periodic progress report to be made by the homeschooling parents/guardians. A form should be developed by the parish to assist in this reporting. Children/young people must be interviewed by the pastor, DRE, or designated representative to determine their understanding of and readiness for the reception of the sacraments.

Since passing on faith tradition is the responsibility of the whole parish community, pastors, parents/guardians, and DREs must collaborate to ensure that the children/young people are appropriately catechized and prepared for the reception of the sacraments. As parishioners, families are expected to participate in the parish Sunday liturgy.

The rights of children/young people to catechetical formation can best be served when pastors, parents/guardians, and catechists offer formation appropriate to the level, development, and disposition of the children/young people.

The parish DRE/CRE should serve as a resource to the parents/guardians. Approved textbooks and other appropriate materials must be used in all sessions. The Catechism of the Catholic Church​ and the General Directory of Catechesis are excellent resources for parents/guardians and catechists.


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