Resources for Ministry Leaders
and Parents to Help Develop
Strong Catholic Families
Strong Catholic Families: A Guide for Leaders - Presents an overview of the Strong Catholic Families initiative and is an essential tool for all leaders participating in the Strong Catholic Families process, providing a summary of some of the best available research and exploring implications for dioceses, parishes and schools while laying out a road map for next steps toward partnering more closely with parents to bring home the faith.
Strong Catholic Families Survey of Parents - In 2015, the Strong Catholic Families team conducted a simple online survey of parents, grandparents regarding the messages they needed most to hear from the church and church leaders. Over 5,100 people responded and the results were eye opening.
American Catholic Religious Parenting Report - This report, written by Christian Smith and Justin Bartkus (Notre Dame), examines what parents can do to optimize their chances of replicating their faith in their children, and how can clergy and pastoral professionals assist them.
Young Catholic America - the latest book based from the groundbreaking National Study of Youth and Religion explores a crucial stage in the life of Catholics. Drawing on in-depth surveys and interviews of Catholics and ex-Catholics ages 18 to 23--a demographic commonly known as early "emerging adulthood"--leading sociologist Christian Smith and his colleagues offer a wealth of insight into the wide variety of religious practices and beliefs among young Catholics today, the early influences and life-altering events that lead them to embrace the Church or abandon it, and how being Catholic affects them as they become full-fledged adults.
Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love): An Apostolic Exhortation on the Family by Pope Francis - a beautifully written pastoral document directed to both church leaders and parents. Developed over the course of two years of Synod gatherings, listening sessions and past and present papal letters and reflections.
Family Faith Inventory - an abbreviated pdf version of the full version found in the Family Faith Resource Booklet , developed through the Strong Catholic Families initiative. An excellent tool for families to use to determine how they wish to grow in faith as a domestic church.
Session Outlines for Use with Parents - These pdf downloads provide leaders and catechists with gatherings aimed at helping parent and families grow deeper in faith. Developed by the Strong Catholic Families National Initiative.
Family Mission Statement Activity - A downloadable worksheet to help families create their own family mission statement. Encourage them to add a family picture and hang it in the home as a powerful reminder of who and Whose they are.
Living and Sharing Your Faith - a session to assist parents with specific skills for leading faith sharing within their families
Creating Strong Parent-Teen Connections - an interactive intergenerational session for use with parents and their older children (middle through high school ages).
The Domestic Church - In the Catholic tradition, the family holds a special place- especially in the formation of faith -- so important, in fact, that it is called "the domestic church." This four minute video highlights the four components that make up the domestic church and invites parents to reflect on being the church in the world and what that might look like within their family. Reflection questions at the end are perfect to use with a group of parents for further sharing and discussion.
LaLa Iglesia Domestica - Spanish version of the above
How Are You Doing? - This four minute video invited a few parents to reflect on the question, "How AM I doing as a parent?" They had doubts until words from their kids touched their hearts and changed their minds. A beautiful and moving video will help parents understand that we often underestimate the power of our role and the influence we yield as a parent.
Faith Sharing and Prayer at Home - How does your family pray? In this two minute clip, Dr. Greg "Dobie" Moser focuses on the "ACTS Prayer" (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) as a simple yet effective formula for praying together as a family.
Creating a Faith Nurturing Home - a three minute clip featuring Leisa Anslinger inviting parents to consider how their home environment reflects their faith.
Faith Conversations - What are the “God-moments” in your life as a family? How do you name them? Drs. Bob and Maggie McCarty invite parents to reflect on the daily events and experiences that allow for a connection to the sacramental moments that surround us daily.
Missioning Faith - How can families define and name their core values and commitments as a family of faith? In this breif clip, Dr. Sean Reynolds invites parents to consider the critical and improtant elements that should make up a family's mission statement. A good intro to use with the Family Mission Statement activity found under the Leader resources section above.
Amoris Laetitia Webinar Series - The Strong Catholic Families National Partnership hosted several thousand ministry leaders, teachers, school leaders, parents and clergy together in 2016-17 for a four month webinar series focusing on the pastoral implementation of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. Four Master Teachers presented video reflections on the themes below followed by live panels reacting to the content and discussing practical applications to various ministries. The links to all the recordings are archived here for you.
Raising Happy, Healthy, and Holy Teenagers: A Primer for Parents - Bob McCarty’s classic book for parents covers important topics such as psychological and developmental tasks of young people, self-esteem, youth culture, practical suggestions for improving parent-teen relationships, and fostering faith in adolescents. Parents of teenagers and "tweens" will find this short volume full of helpful tips and practical recommendations on how to support and guide their son or daughter through their adolescent years.
The Secrets of Happy Families - Best-selling author and New York Times family columnist Bruce Feiler found himself squeezed between aging parents and rising children. This book is the result of his three-year journey to find the smartest ideas, cutting-edge research, and novel solutions to make his family happier. Feiler then tested these ideas with his own wife and kids. The result is a fun, completely original look at how families can draw closer together, complete with 200 never-before-seen best practices.
The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family - This book arises from the innovative, research-based, and extensively field-tested project known as “Sticky Faith,” designed to equip parents with insights and ideas for nurturing long-term faith in children and young people.
Catholic Family Bibles - Every family should have their own bible and these two Catholic versions are created to especially assist families with not only reading the word of God, but reflecting on it and sharing it more deeply
Web Based Resources
Faith and Parenting Resources
Strong Catholic Families Facebook Page - "Like" this page to receive daily updates on articles, research, inspiring stories and more for both parents and the leaders who serve them.
Strong Catholic Family Faith - a curated website designed to assist parish and school catechetical leaders in supporting and resourcing families in their efforts to offer quality faith formation for children and families.
Growing Up Catholic - excellent resources for coaching parents to share their faith with their own children, including catechetical programs, handouts, books, and a free getting started kit.
At Home with Our Faith - an award-winning family spirituality newsletter, serving as a source for everyday wisdom from real Catholic parents.
Faith First for Families—this website has a special section for parents that is updated each week to bring you the up-to-date resources and articles.
Center for Parent/Youth Understanding - committed to building strong families by helping parents understand and respond to the complex world of their children and teens from a distinctively Christian point of view. Especially helpful are the Resource Page and CPYU Parent Page.
Lifelong Faith - a treasure chest of articles, Christian practices and faith-based resources for parishes and parents alike.
Grace Before Meals - Grace Before Meals is a movement to bring families back to the dinner table- away from work, school, TV, games, and the many other things we get caught up in- to share a delicious meal together, communicate and love one another and be nourished- body, mind, and soul. featuring easy lessons, tasty recipes and reasons to come together and share in the love that only a family or friend can provide.
ParentFurther.com - a parenting website created by the Search Institute offering answers to your “need-to-know-right-now” questions and provides you “with an understanding of what it takes to raise successful kids who will become healthy, responsible, and caring adults.”
Paradisus Dei - helping families discover the superabundance of God within marriage and family life offering free parish-based programs for couples, men, women, moms and daughters and more.
For Your Marriage - an excellent resource developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops designed to strengthen and support marriage.
Substance Abuse Guide for Parents - A helpful website to inform and resource parents on substance use/abuse and recovery options.
Family and Parenting Blogs
CatholicMom.com - founded by Lisa Hendey in 2000 out of her Fresno, CA home. It received an award in 2014 for best online blog by the Catholic Press Association.
Families.com - a website and blog covering family, parenting and other related issues
Peanut Butter and Grace - Their mission is to help Catholic parents raise children to be saints—people who love Christ and his Church and take action to continue Christ’s mission in the world today.