Adolescent Catechesis

Since their minds are increasing in capability, catechesis for adolescents should make clear the rational bases for faith, the inner coherence of the truths of the faith, and their relation to one another. It should also help adolescents to articulate the beliefs and teachings of the Church and to apply them to their lives.

National Directory for Catechesis, p. 199

The most effective catechetical programs for adolescents are integrated into a comprehensive program of pastoral ministry for youth that includes catechesis, community life, evangelization, justice and service, leadership development, pastoral care, and prayer and worship. Such programs aim to empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today; to draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community; and to foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person.

National Directory for Catechesis, p. 201

Features of Adolescent Catechesis

From the National Directory for Catechesis:

The ministry of catechesis with adolescents has several distinct features that give direction to catechetical programming. Specifically, catechesis with adolescents:

  • Teaches the core content of the Catholic faith as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in order to provide a solid foundation for continued growth in faith
  • Recognizes that faith development is lifelong and therefore provides developmentally appropriate content and processes around the key themes of Catholic faith that respond to the age-appropriate needs, interests, and concerns of younger and older adolescents
  • Integrates knowledge of the Catholic faith with liturgical and prayer experiences and the development of practical skills for living the Catholic faith in today's world
  • Utilizes the life experiences of adolescents and the wisdom of the Catholic Church
  • Engages adolescents in the learning process by incorporating a variety of learning methods and activities through which adolescents can explore and learn important religious concepts of the Scriptures and Catholic faith - a variety of learning approaches, including music and media, keeps interests alive among adolescents and responds to their different learning styles
  • Involves group participation in an environment that is characterized by warmth, trust, acceptance, and care, so that young people can hear and respond to God's call
  • Provides real-life application of learning by helping adolescents to apply their learning to living more faithfully as Catholic adolescents
  • Promotes family faith development through parish and school programs by providing parent education and resources, incorporating a family perspective in catechetical programming, and providing parent-adolescent and intergenerational catechetical programming
  • Promotes Christian attitudes toward human sexuality
  • Recognizes and celebrates multicultural diversity within the Church's unity
  • Incorporates a variety of program approaches, including parish and school programs; small-group programs; home-based programs, activities, and resources; one-on-one and mentoring programs; and independent or self-directed programs or activities
  • Explicitly invites young people to explore the possibility of a personal call to ministry and the beauty of the total gift of self for the sake of the kingdom based on a prayerful reflection within the celebration of sacraments


Adaptation of the Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for Adolescent Catechesis in Parishes and Youth Ministry