All parishes in the Diocese of Oakland may not have a Catholic school; however, all parishes do have religious education programs. Numerous lay ministers hear Christ’s call to serve the Church in parish faith formation programs. Whether from active youth ministries, Special Religious Education Department outreach, marriage preparation or social justice education, the most commonly experienced form of catechesis is provided through parish-level religious education programs. Each year, over 4,000 children, young adults and adults receive instruction from a committed group of lay leaders dedicated to furthering our essential mission “to know Christ better and make Him better known.”
The Diocese of Oakland currently funds ongoing education for those individuals who teach and minister through the School for Pastoral Ministry. Gatherings are also held twice a year for directors of religious education. However, not every parish is able to send its directors of religious education, teachers and lay ministers to the school, and those who attend usually pay tuition and fee costs themselves.
As a diocese, we must continue to support current efforts, but we must also invest in a means to provide new and innovative training and ongoing formation for all who work in parish religious education. Reclaiming Christ’s Mission Together campaign will create a new $1.5 million endowment for new programming.