The Catholic University of America

Oral Presentation of D.Min. Treatise

Rose Marden

for the degree of

Doctor of Ministry

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2:00p.m., McGivney Hall, Room 011




Why Don’t They Come? Enhancing Participation in Parish Adult Faith Formation


Director: Rev. Raymond Studzinski, O.S.B., Ph.D.


Despite Church teachings indicating that adult faith formation should be at the center of a parish’s catechetical ministry, this is not the practice in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. In parishes where an effort is made to offer adult faith formation programs, relatively few adults participate. The researcher wanted to know why this was the case. The researcher gathered three focus groups, one at each of three similar parishes, and asked the participants why they thought people did not come to adult faith formation offerings in their parish. The researcher recorded the conversations, had them transcribed, and then analyzed them for themes that might answer the question of why so few people attend adult faith formation events. She discovered that a fear of not being welcomed and the busyness of contemporary life were the main reasons the participants offered. Other significant findings included the need for better marketing and use of technology, a need to carefully consider content and the use of adult methodology, cultural influences, supportive pastoral leadership, and issues of motivation and conversion. The project demonstrated the need for good pastoral planning that looks at the real spiritual hungers of the people in the parish, and the need to evangelize with highly intentional welcoming events. The researcher discovered the importance of having pastoral leadership that shares and communicates a vision of parish life in which the idea of the Church’s central identity as evangelizer is recognized, articulated, and lived out.