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CHN Community Responds

CHNetwork Community Members Respond: Could Sunday School Work in Catholic Churches?

June 3, 2016 One Comment







This week’s question had to do with whether or not Sunday school, which is a staple of protestant worship, could be successful if implemented in Catholic Churches.  We had some pretty strong opinions this time around!  Many of you said it would be a great idea, but weren’t sure how it could be implemented.   Here’s a sampling of what you sent us via email and posted on the forums:


“What I’ve taken part in and seen work is adult faith formation at a parish: this consists of a base course, that lasts a semester (call it Alpha, or Jesus is Lord, or Intro) and gives the basic kerygma. Then ‘elective’ courses are also taught on a topic, everything from Bible Timeline, financial university, apologetics, theology of the body, etc.

To make this work requires a very dedicated volunteer or more plausibly a paid staff position (or two) plus volunteers. The priests have to be behind it and promote it too or no one comes.”


Devin Rose, author of “The Protestant’s Dilemma


“I believe Sunday School has a definite place in the Catholic Church. In my Southern Baptist upbringing I attended Sunday School before Sunday worship service on a regular basis… Adults, young people and children would all benefit from attending Sunday School each Sunday. The adult role models who taught those classes are an influence on me to this day. Sunday school could be made available to Catholics to those of all ages that would help us all to be more endeared to our Catholic faith and could help us retain all the adults who leave our church and help us keep our youth meaningfully practicing this wonder faith for their whole life… Where do I sign up?



“First, I think the additional teaching in the Scriptures and the Faith that could be provided through a Sunday School or even a mid-week evening setting is much needed, especially for the adults, although the people in the parish who need it the most may not see their need.  The continuing education culture is largely missing from many parishes, but it is changing.


Secondly, I think it would help slow the attrition over to the Protestant side.  I have seen many Catholics hungry to study the Scriptures go to Protestant Bible studies and end up being talked into leaving the Catholic Church by Biblically knowledgeable Protestant study members. It happens all the time.  Even if the study leaders and members aren’t anti-Catholic, they still teach the Protestant understandings of the Scriptures, which ends up contradicting Church teachings.”

Howard Hampson, CHN Community Forum Moderator


What are your thoughts?  Have you seen adult faith formation work well at the parish level, or had experience of protestant Sunday school administrative methods that you think might be translatable into a Catholic environment?  Share in the comments below!

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