Prayer and Worship Office
Guidelines and Policies for Parish Catechetical Programs

Updated Administrative Policies, Safety & Crisis Management Guidelines (October, 2009)

On October 6, 2009 the Office of Evangelization, Catechesis and Family Life (OECFL) released revised guidelines and policies covering the administration of parish catechetical/youth ministry/faith formation programs as well as updated safety and crisis management guidelines for these programs.

Following the Office’s new procedures for distributing materials and resources to parish catechetical/youth ministry leaders via email and posting resources to the diocesan website, rather than printing up hundreds of copies of this revised materials, our new guidelines and policies for administration, safety and crisis management are being posted here to the diocesan website so that leaders may view the file online, download it to their own computer or print whatever pages they wish to have hard copies of.

OECFL’s 2009 Revised Administrative, Safety & Crisis Management Guidelines and Policies for Parish Catechetical Programs

Consolidating these resources in this way, in electronic format, should provide several benefits:

  1. Catechetical/Youth Ministry Leaders will now only have to access a single file (or printout) to access information on administrative, safety & crisis management guidelines and policies, rather than having to refer to several different binders/manuals. For example, the current update revised and consolidates content that previously would have been distributed during two separate BAMOFF sessions as well as two separate binders originally distributed to parishes in 1991 and 2000, with updated content and instructions mailed out occasionally (see following table).
  2. With the guidelines and policies being made available as an Adobe PDF file, leaders can now use Adobe Reader’s find or search capability to search for a word or phrase, rather than having to manually skim through over 100 pages of materials. To use the search feature, while viewing the electronic document in Adobe Acrobat Reader, select “edit” and “search” (or press “CTL” and “F”) and then enter the word (such as “photo” or “chaperone”) in the search window/box. Press “Enter” to start the search. Acrobat will display the first instance of the word in the document, highlighted. To proceed to the next occurrence, press “Enter” (and continue to do so until it can find no more occurrences of the word).
  3. Catechetical/Youth Ministry Leaders who are concerned that their manuals are not up-to-date will now be able to check the website to view/download/print the most recent version of the OECFL’s policies and guidelines regarding these matters. In the future, the OECFL will be able to post updated content to revise the manual and will be able to email parish leaders to advise them to review and update their copies of the manuals accordingly.

The revised guidelines and policies for administration, safety and crisis management, supersede all previously released issues and editions of the following:

Newly Released Materials (Oct ’09)

Previously Issued Manuals, Binders, etc. (prior to October 2009)
now superseded



A1 – Administration

Supersedes Tab/Section “A” (“Administration”) in Guidelines and Policies for Parish Catechetical Programs, Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany issued between 1991 – 2009 by the Office of Religious Education, Office of Evangelization & Catechesis or by the Office of Evangelization, Catechesis and Family Life.

Supersedes text or materials from Becoming A Minister of Faith Formation (BAMOFF) sessions on “Guidelines for Administration of Parish Programs” (depending on when you participated in BAMOFF this could have been either one or two sessions) prior to October, 2009.

A2 – Safety & Crisis Management Guidelines

Supersedes the entire red and black Safety & Crisis Management Guidelines for Parish Catechetical and Youth Ministry Programs binder originally issued by the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis in October, 2000 with any updates received through the Fall of 2008.

A3 – Appendices

Includes the various forms and documents referenced as appendices in the 2009 Revised Administration, Safety and Crisis Management Guidelines and Policies and supersedes the forms and documents that had been included previously as appendices in Guidelines and Policies for Parish Catechetical Programs, the BAMOFF binder, and the Safety and Crisis Management Guidelines for Parish Catechetical and Youth Ministry Programs.

Parish catechetical/youth ministry leaders are advised to replace their outdated guidelines and policies sections/tabs with the updated content. Note that other guidelines and policies materials currently in your guidelines and policies binders (dealing with such things as catechist/youth minister formation and certification, sacramental preparation and celebration, curriculum, etc) remain in force in their present form and should not be disposed of. When these sections of the original Guidelines and Policies for Parish Catechetical Programs are revised, parish catechetical/youth ministry leaders will be instructed as to replacing existing copies of these other guidelines and policies.

Catechetical/youth ministry leaders are expected to be familiar with the diocese’s guidelines and policies regarding these matters. Diocesan policy (indicated by the use of such words as “must”, “required to”, “needs to”, and “shall”) is to be followed by all parish faith formation/catechetical/youth ministry programs within the Albany Diocese. Guidelines, typically address matters that have been inquired about over the years and represent “best practices” and practical ideas and suggestions for dealing with the matter. While it is not mandatory that they be followed, they are highly recommended based on years of practical, lived experience (and are indicated by words such as “should”, “may”, “might want to”, and “it is recommended that”). Leaders with questions about adapting diocesan guidelines for use in their particular parish situation should contact the OECFL for consultation and guidance.

Although the updated guidelines and policies are now deemed to have been issued – via the diocesan website with current catechetical/youth ministry leaders being notified that they are now available by email – parishes wishing to order a printed, hard copy of the updated materials may do so for $10 plus postage. Contact the OECFL for further information on ordering this material. Otherwise, it is available for free from the diocesan website.

The Administrative, Safety & Crisis Management Guidelines and Policies currently available from the diocesan website include updates to Appendices 3, 4, 10 & 11 dated June 30, 2011. Parish leaders should print these sections either from the full Guidelines & Policies manual or separately via the “General Forms” page to update their hard copy of the manual.