Under the direction of lawful Church authority, all members of the faithful, in keeping with their proper role, have a concern for catechesis in the Church. [Can. 774 §1] Parents, above all, have the obligation of forming their children by word and example in the faith and in the practice of a Christian life; godparents and those who take the place of parents have an equivalent obligation. [Can. 774 §2] In the parish community, pastors [Can.773] are responsible for supervising catechesis in their parish and coordinating the participation of all members of the parish in the principal catechetical efforts [Can. 776].
In the archdiocese, the archbishop provides for formation, selection and commissioning of other catechetical leaders [Can. 780]. These catechetical leaders are professionals -- working under the guidance of the pastor -- in teaching the mysteries of the Faith and its practice. Whether paid or volunteer, they are often entrusted with administrative responsibilities in organizing and implementating the catechetical plan for the parish. Catechetical leaders are particularly charged with carrying out this ministry on behalf of the Church under the direction of the pastor; therefore, they should make themselves known in the parish and school community and be available to the people they serve.
Together with the pastor [Can. 776], catechetical leaders encourage parishioners to engage in the catechetical efforts of the parish and assist them in being actively involved in the catechesis of the parish. Accordingly, catechetical leaders are expected to familiarize themselves with archdiocesan policies and procedures in conducting their ministries and to adhere to those policies and procedures that apply to their particular assignments. The Office of Religious Education is the primary source of information and guidance for specific catechetical goals and objectives. Program content, for example, should reflect the most up-to-date directives and guidance from the Vatican, the USCCB and the Archdiocese. However, the realities of the parish or school community should also play a significant role in developing catechetical ministries. Collaboration with the pastor, the parish councils, school leadership, and other ministry leaders is indispensable for a successful program.
The parish community brings together a diversity of people who form one parish family, all of whom should have access to the parish facilities, including the pastoral center, school classrooms, the hall, the church, etc. Catechetical leaders are required to follow parish and school procedures in coordinating calendars and reserving space. Certain activities that catechetical programs wish to conduct on parish or school grounds are subject to specific rules, such as voter education or fundraising events. Additional guidance is available in the Administrative Handbook, Chapter 7.2.12, FAQs.
Because parish income must take into account the needs of all ministries of the parish (e.g. religious education programs, youth ministry, senior citizens, parish school, etc.), finances must be budgeted. Catechetical leaders must prepare an annual budget with foresight and accurate projections. Past experience, present need, and future vision should guide the development of the budget. The budget should be presented to the person in charge.The catechetical leader must ensure adherence to archdiocesan policies in Section 6.1 of the Administrative Handbook on internal controls and handling cash and credit cards in all matters of the programs under their direction. Section 6.3 of the Administrative Handbook provides direction on managing expenses and disbursements, including signing authority and banking relationships.
Depending on the community's resources, catechetical leaders may supervise paid and/or volunteer staff. Archdiocesan personnel policies are described in the Administrative Handbook Section 5.2. Churches and religious institutions, like the Archdiocese, are treated differently than other organizations under certain laws, so it is critically important to review the handbook for guidance. The core values that guide working relationships in the archdiocese are described in Section 5.2.1 of the Administrative Handbook. Many of the other General Policies enumerated in Section 5.2 apply to both employees and volunteers.
Maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for all is vitally important. Catechetical leaders and their team members must adhere to the archdiocesan rules in Chapter 9 on Safe Environment, including but not limited to VIRTUS™ training and fingerprinting.
Catechetical leaders share responsibility with other parish and school leaders for creating, implementing and maintaining an emergency plan. Section 8.5 of the Administrative Handbook provides further information about emergency planning. These plans should be shared with team members, participants, and parents/guardians of participants as appropriate.
When planning excursions, field trips, or retreats, catechetical leaders must consider the rules in Section 12.3 on field trips and excursions, which include review of retreat center contracts, and the requirements for transportation.
Preparation for registration in the parish faith formation programs should be done in a timely manner and include dates, places, and deadlines. Refer to the Registration Guidelines for Parish Faith Formation Programs . A Sample Registration Form for Faith Formation Programs is available to assist catechetical leaders in preparing registration materials for their parish program(s). A parish registration form should include the parish name and program information. To maintain the necessary privacy of medical information, the records must be kept in a restricted-access file along with the Emergency Information Form. Registration fees vary from parish to parish. The parish should take into consideration economic and family circumstances. No participant should ever be denied enrollment because of inability to pay the fee.