Adult Faith Formation Options Recommended by the Office for Parish Life


Faith-Sharing and Scripture


Faith-Sharing Communities

RENEW International Programs bring parishioners together in small groups of 6-10 to study Scripture and discuss how it relates to life.


  • Promote spiritual renewal and evangelization
  • Develop close relationships with Christ and with one another
    Learn about and witness to the Word of God in Sacred Scripture
  • Enhance the celebration of the Sunday liturgy

How long is the program?  Most RENEW resources span 6 weeks in length

What is entailed?  Parishes need to find small group leaders, invite parishioners to attend and sign them up.

Who can help us with this?  The Office for Parish Life and Renew International provide facilitator training, retreats and ongoing leadership development.


Little Rock Scripture Study

Little Rock Scripture Study combines at home reading, reflection and prayer with weekly gatherings for discussion, learning and prayer.


  • Daily Personal Study: read the Bible and Catholic commentary; then use questions for reflection.
  • Weekly Small-Group Sharing: Gather in groups of eight to twelve to pray and to share your responses to the study questions. Trained facilitators lead the groups.
  • Wrap-Up Lecture: A brief lecture develops the lesson and may be delivered by local speakers or by using audio- or video-taped resources.
  • Prayer: In addition to daily personal prayer, learn to use Conversational Prayer, a simple, effective method of prayer used in the small group.



There is an urgency around evangelization in the Church of the 21st Century, but many parishes don’t know where to begin.  The Alpha Course provides you with a simple format that has worked for parishes all over the world!

  • Invite people to a dinner at the parish, in someone’s home or at a location in the community.
  • After breaking bread together, watch a video that addresses the longing many modern people feel and how God alone can fill that hole.
  • The group discusses what they heard.
  • They meet again for ten sessions total with a weekend retreat mid-way through the program.

The program succeeds because it connects the longing of the human heart for God with the kerygma and it creates a community where people feel they belong. Recommended in Forming Intentional Disciples, by Sherry Weddell and Divine Renovation, by Fr. James Mallon.


For additional faith-sharing and scriptural resources, consider Exploring the Sunday Readings and other publications by Alice Camille.


Enrichment for Ministry


Echoes of Faith

Sponsored by RCL Benziger, Echoes of Faith trains catechists for CCD or RCIA and provides an introduction to the basics of the Catholic faith; a video-assisted program

Two options:

  • Web-based, individual study at one’s own pace, own schedule, accessible even on a smart-phone; in English or Spanish
  • Group study using DVD/books which encourages discussion, and building of community

Three Areas of Study:

  • Theology Set: I Believe/We Believe; Prayer/Spirituality; Scriptures; Liturgy & Sacraments; Catholic Morality; The Church (Church History)
  • Catechist Set: Role of the Catechist; Person of the Catechist; Spiritual Formation
  • Methodology Set: The Learner; Grade Level Methods; Adult Formation Methodology

Who can help us with this? The Office for Parish Life provides initial facilitator training for group learning.  OPL also can loan materials. For the online program, OPL has access codes at a reduced price.


For additional tips and reading, visit the Faith Formation Matters website from Sr. Janet Schaeffler, OP and subscribe to her GEMs Newsletter (Great Endeavors Mined and Shared).


Liturgical Ministry Training

Offer training for your parishioners to be a lector, extraordinary minister of the Eucharist or ministers of hospitality.

“We can offer this in-house but need resources.” Use the Liturgical Resource Binder compiled by the Office for Parish Life for teaching and prayers.

“We need someone else to do this training.”  OPL provides training sessions.  Call for availability, or to schedule a session onsite. LTP offers Virtual Workshops for further enrichment.


STM Online: Crossroads

This program of Boston College School of Theology and Ministry offers non-credit online courses for adult spiritual enrichment and faith formation. With a focus on shared reflection in an online learning community, Crossroads models the kind of conversation and participation that lead to deeper understanding of and personal growth in faith.

Program Features:

  • Participants are assigned to a “Community for Conversation,” an online discussion group of up to 25 persons.
  • The experience takes place online asynchronously.
  • Courses are 3, 4 or 5 weeks long and require 3-4 hours/week.
  • Certificate programs are available. Areas of study: Scripture; Themes from Christian Tradition; Sacraments and Liturgy; The Moral Life; Prayer and Spirituality; and Ministries
  • Video lectures and articles by leading figures in Catholic theology and pastoral ministry


Making Plans for Adult Faith Formation

The Office for Parish Life has several toolkits available to assist your parish leaders in areas such as adult faith formation, evangelization, communications, engagement, stewardship.


Other Continued Studies for Ministry


Diocesan Certificate in Lay Ministry: Encourage volunteers or paid staff who need more training to apply for this comprehensive, enriching program.  It can be completed in 2-3 years and provides a foundation for leadership in a range of parish ministries.  Participants

  • take online classes through University of Dayton’s VLCFF in core theology courses and specialized ministry tracks;
  • become part of a community of fellow ministers;
  • grow professionally with skills workshops geared for pastoral ministers;
  • do theological praxis; and
  • grow spiritually through retreats and spiritual direction.

Loyola University New Orleans offers master’s degrees and certificates in Pastoral Studies and Religious Education.  The program is accessible online with a local gathering of learners in the Diocese of Scranton that comes together 2-3 times/semester.

  • Professionally-oriented program
  • Integrates rigorous academic study with theological praxis
  • Grounded in Ignatian spirituality


Additional Resources for online or campus learning: University of Scranton, Fordham University Graduate School of Religious Studies. Creighton University by Extension, University of Dallas, Catholic University and University of Notre Dame

STEP from Notre Dame

Center for Ministry Development Certificate in Ministry Studies