Parish Catechist Manual

So, what is it about the new Faith and Life Parish Catechist Manual (PCM) that is giving it such great reviews?

New Parish Catechist Manuals for Grades 1-6 Coming in 2016!

Well, if you are a parent catechist, it is as easy as 1-2-3. And, if you are a seasoned catechist who has used Faith and Life for years, using the new “focus points” to guide your own discussion, will help to facilitate your classes. And, if you are a DRE, you just turn to the PCM schedule in the introduction, and know exactly where your catechists will be that week. All grade levels follow a 22-week lesson plan.

Let’s begin with the parent catechist who loves the Faith but doesn’t have an educational background. No problem.


Begin the year by looking at the grade level outline in the introduction of the book. Here you will find the entire year in a snapshot.  There are also three optional lessons, an introductory lesson and two liturgical year lessons. If possible, begin the year with the optional overview lesson on salvation history and interject liturgical year lessons where they fall in the calendar.

Catechist Planning: Your lesson plan is complete. Read the chapter summary, if need be, related scriptural, CCC references and other background information is there. To prepare, read through the lesson, no extra planning is needed!

These lessons are streamlined for an hour to one-and-a-half-hour class. Each step provides a time limit. For example, Explanation (30-40 minutes) If your class is an hour, you have 30 minutes for the explanation, or 10 minutes per focus point. If your class is 90 minutes, you have 40 minutes for the explanation.  Not enough to do? Each focus point has optional activities. Not enough time? If you get sidetracked on one focus point, no problem. Use the remaining focus point summaries and conclusions to move through the rest of the explanation quickly and with ease.

The PCM follows the Ecclesial Methodology: Preparation (Prepare the students with prayer, sacred art or scripture), Proclamation (Proclaim the Good News), Explanation (Explain the proclamation), Life Application, (How do they apply this to their lives?) and Celebration (Celebrate the Good News with song, lives of the Saints, Prayer etc.)

The Preparation step is intended to prepare the students for the class, to draw them in. It gives an option to begin the class with either the sacred art or scripture (or both) along with prayer. And, we have equipped you with art and scripture explanations. After the students are prepared, the catechist proclaims the main idea (proclamation is provided) to be learned.

Now it gets tricky…just kidding. Explicit instructions and discussions (with expected responses) are given in the Explanation Step. Each explanation is divided into four or more “focus” points. These are summaries of the main ideas of the lesson. So, experienced catechists can just use the focus points to move through the lesson. Or, those who need more direction, can just follow the discussion that has been developed to engage students to draw them into the mysteries of the Faith.

Next, and most importantly, the life application. It is time to ensure that the kids “get it”.

Image result for kids discussing in classroom

How do I apply this to my life? Just follow along with great discussion and/or activities.

Finally, the celebration provides options to end the class: Songs, lives of the Saints, and prayer.

Image result for kids praying

Just like I said, easy as 1-2-3!

This manual is used with the same Third Edition text and activity books. So, sometimes chapters are combined in order to provide 22 text lessons. Sound like a lot to combine chapters? No problem. These are always related topics and we have already streamlined the discussion for one class.

What more can I say, except everyone loves the new Parish Catechist Manual. So, make a comment below and tell us what you like best about the new Parish Catechist Manual? Feel free to ask questions or make suggestions for other catechists.

Need more information, want to see samples or yearly outlines? Click here or go to

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