Sheila Grove

Graphic/Elizabeth Butterfield

All Catholics in the Diocese of Erie will be beneficiaries of donations to the Catholic Education Collection that will be held this weekend at all Masses in the diocese. The collection supports lifelong, intergenerational faith formation in every parish. Here are examples of some of the programs that it supports: 

Area middle-school students embrace the powerful
Gospel of Jesus at Holy Fire Great Lakes in 2019.
Photo/Jillian Zaczyk

  • Religious education classes for children and adolescents who attend public schools provide the opportunity for students to learn about the Catholic faith and receive sacramental preparation for confession, Holy Eucharist and confirmation. Classes provide the opportunity for social interaction within each parish community. Many parish programs including children’s liturgy and youth groups are offered to students regardless of where they attend school. Virtual and digital experiences are available in some parishes.
  • Funds support RCIA programs that introduce those who request baptism and membership in the Catholic Church. Other lifelong formation programs including speakers, video series and parishioner subscription services are supported.
  • On a diocesan level, funds through the Office of Faith Formation assist parishes with training catechists, providing young adult and youth ministry programs, Samuel groups for vocational discernment, marriage and family life programs and more.
  • Pastors obtain assistance from the diocese regarding parish initiatives and resources that have been particularly valuable during the pandemic.
  • Religious Education Enrichment Fund (REEF) grants are supported through this collection (see grant opportunity in this issue) 
    Samuel Group, sponsored by the Office of Faith
    Formation, invites young adults ages 20-30 who
    desire to discern God’s will for their lives. 
    Photo/Jillian Zaczyk

          It may be difficult for parishioners to recognize the source of the funds for the many programs parishes and the diocese provide. It is not difficult, however, to recognize the importance. While parents are their children’s first teachers and are a primary mode of transmission for the tenets of the faith, parishes provide a vital and formal element to education that both children and adult Catholics need to fulfill their baptismal call to discipleship.

          It is by design that this collection is held the weekend of Catechetical Sunday. On this day, catechists in many parishes are formally commissioned for ministry to the community. Catechetical Sunday gives parishes an opportunity to reflect on the role that each baptized person plays in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. It is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith. 

          Faith formation is a lifelong process and an investment in everyone’s future. Gifts can be made using the offertory collection envelope or online at