How is faith passed on—and whose responsibility is it? As numbers among young Catholics dwindle, proper education and support of the faith is crucial to future of the Church. Though 93% of Catholic parents believe it is “very important” for their children to celebrate the sacraments, attendance at Mass and enrollment in Catholic education are lower than ever. But it doesn’t start in CCD or even church. It starts at home.

If children aren’t first exposed to the Catholic faith by their parents, it is unlikely that they will ever be exposed at all. As a child’s first influence and most frequent interaction, parents are uniquely positioned to pass on the faith more so than any other teacher or parish member. Yet, passivity, secularization and miseducation are responsible for parents increasingly “outsourcing” their child’s Catholic education to priests and catechists instead of acting as a mentor and champion within their own home. While faith is important among Catholic parents (71% express that prayer is essential to their faith), it is not being put in practice in ways that will successfully shape the next generation (only 7% of Catholic parents prefer to pray as a family). If we want to build a stronger, thriving church for future generations, we must start with the first and most basic unit of community: the family.


68% of Catholic parents do not have their children enrolled in Catholic religious education.

63% of Catholic parents attend Mass no more than twice per month, with 22% rarely or never attending.


The OSV Institute is committed to supporting organizations and programs that provide resources, education, relief, emotional support and faith building to young Catholic parents in order to:

  Pass On

More effectively pass on the Catholic faith to the next generation.


Build the domestic Church by forming parents as intentional disciples, who in turn “make disciples” of their children.


Prevent future religiously unaffiliated generations.


Support and overcome the obstacles preventing parents from passing on the faith to their children.


Move parishes and dioceses to greater parent support in their programs and offerings.


Help parents see their families as “centers of evangelization.”

Of all actors, it is parents who exert overwhelmingly the greatest influence upon the eventual religious views and commitments of American children.
Justin Bartkus and Christian Smith, A Report on American Catholic Religious Parenting