Posted by: Thomas Richard | July 6, 2012

Plea for Real Commitment to Adult Faith Formation

I am very happy that the (now on-line only) magazine, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, has published an article I wrote on adult faith formation. This ministry – the continuing life-long catechesis of Catholic adults – is crucially important in our time! And yet it is almost universally under-appreciated at the parish and diocesan levels, at least in my humble and limited experience. It is under-appreciated, under-funded, under-staffed, under-supported, under-attended – in fact, it is often as close to being invisible and non-existent as you can get, except for occasional exceptions here and there.

Why is this? I could only speculate – which I won’t do – but I sincerely hope that there are credible and important reasons that I don’t know of, why this crucial need in the Church is so neglected. It is not for lack of calls and exhortations from the Vatican, nor even from the USCCB in America! The bishops and the popes (present and past) certainly recognize the importance and the need for continuing, life-long, comprehensive adult faith formation. But it just doesn’t seem to get down to where it counts: to the adult Catholics in the parishes.

So I wrote an article for a magazine that is directed primarily to pastors, to bishops, to priests and deacons: Homiletic and Pastoral Review. Perhaps adult faith formation just has been pushed to a back burner for so long that it has been forgotten! My prayer is that some, who could do something about it, will read my article and decide that action really is needed. Change is needed. Adult Faith Formation really is needed! And we in the Church can do this, if we will.

The article can be found and read here – Plea for Real Commitment to Adult Faith Formation. Please feel free to recommend the article to others – “even” to others of us laity.  I recommend “bookmarking” the HPR site – they do publish good articles, and it is easy to leave comments on the articles – a great feature of on-line publications.



  1. Dear Thomas,

    The article is excellent, and your inclusion of the quotes from both Vatican and USCCB documents lends added strength and urgency to your plea for real commitment to Adult Faith Formation. I pray that many persons will read your article, and do whatever the Holy Spirit may inspire them to do. I have already begun to recommend it to persons in our parish and in other places as well. I am grateful for your zeal and the Love of God which prompts it.

  2. A great article with marvelous resource but it seems to have disapeared could you email me a copy?

    • It’s back! It was pulled off-line for a few moments to correct some errors in the text at HPR, but now it is back on-line. (They had accidentally reversed my first and last names – a common mistake in my case). Thanks.

  3. I came here in the light of your inspirational article, and the Kindle versions of your books will be my Summer reading!

    It’s struck me for some time now that,as Catholics, we’ve tended to be ‘catechesis-only’ Christians, whilst Evangelicals tend to be ‘conversion-only’ Christians, whilst our real task is that of being ‘Catholic-only’ Christians, embodying the fullness of both aspects.

    This issue of Formation which I think you so eloquently outline, is a message we need to hear, and I thank God for those out in the blogsphere like you, Thomas, encouraging and helping us layfolk in that task.

    Thank you.

    • Hello One Timothy –

      Thank you for the note and support. “…our real task is that of being ‘Catholic-only’ Christians, embodying the fullness of both aspects.” Yes, a Church both converted and catechized – the world would recognize a difference!

      Blessings and grace to you.


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