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Refined over 30 years, Family Formation is a Catholic family-based catechetical program developed by the Church of Saint Paul in Ham Lake, Minnesota.

Our Mission

Our mission is to help parents respond to the Church's call to be "the first and foremost educators of their children"* and to help families grow in the transforming love of God by understanding and living the Catholic Faith. *Gravissimum Educationis, 3

Our vision is to transform the world, one family at a time.

Family Formation: An Introduction

Family Formation is a tried and true model and curriculum developed by parents who were searching for a better way to convey and pass on the Truths of the Faith to their children.

History of Family Formation

Since it's beginning in 1988, Family Formation has grown to serve thousands of families and parishes around the world. 

Many parents in our parish have shared inspiring stories of Truths of the Faith they were finally able to understand, or were introduced to for the first time, through teaching their children with the Home Lessons

With the desire for better and more successful religious education for their children, Family Formation was first developed in 1988 by the Church of Saint Paul in Ham Lake, Minnesota. By inspiration of the Holy Spirit through focused prayer, the model was set.  Curriculum was written and developed over a number of years by ordinary parents with regular lives. The lessons eventually underwent rigorous theological review.  Although it grew organically to meet a need we saw in our own parish, word began to spread about this unique model of catechesis that was bearing great fruit.  We began to receive requests from individual families, and then parishes, who wanted to follow suit. Through the use of Family Formation, parents report learning their Faith for the first time, families are returning to Sunday Mass and the sacraments, and family life and parish communities are being transformed.

Family Formation is flourishing throughout the world!

Family Formation’s model and curriculum are being used by parishes and families across the U.S., Canada, and beyond.

Support for Parishes and Families

We work to make sure parishes and families have everything they need to implement the program successfully.

Beginning a new parish program can be very challenging. With 30 years of experience using Family Formation at the Church of Saint Paul, as well as insight gleaned from working with many other parishes, we are able to provide ongoing support and direction as you discern, implement, and use this family catechesis model.

Prayer is and always has been a critical component of Family Formation. Our parish maintains a core team of people that have been praying since its development for all parishes and families using Family Formation! While members of the team change over the years, their steadfast commitment to prayer remains constant. We strongly recommend to each parish that they also develop a “Core Team” to pray for the families in their program.

Ultimately, it is our hope that with each Home Lesson and gathering at church, you will begin to see sparks of light and conversion in parents and in their children!

Leadership and Staff
Deb Lindahl
Deb Lindahl, Director of Distance Family Formation


Deb first experienced Family Formation as a parent at the Church of Saint Paul in Ham Lake, Minnesota where the model and curriculum began 30 years ago. It was there she heard for the first time that it was her role and responsibility to be the primary educator of her children in the Faith and that she had been given the graces to accomplish the mission. Even as a cradle Catholic, she learned so much through Family Formation, and her own faith was reignited as she taught her children. She is now the Director of Distance Family Formation working to support parishes across the country as they implement this unique model of family catechesis.

Sue Klejeski
Sue Klejeski, Director of Family Catechesis


Sue and her husband were searching for a better method of passing on the Faith when they stumbled onto the newly-formed Family Formation program at the Church of Saint Paul. In the years since then, she’s been surprised to see how God wants to use her, and has wondered why she wasted the first decades of her life as a wishy-washy Catholic. Sue has presented Family Formation to parishes and professional conferences, does a little bit of everything with her parish program, and loves to help parents more effectively teach their own children. She knows from first-hand experience in teaching her own five children that Family Formation works.

Laurie Mueller
Laurie Mueller, Family Formation Assistant


Laurie uses her ongoing involvement in the ministry details of Family Formation at the Church of Saint Paul to assist parishes in their implementation of family catechesis. Her experience with family catechesis started alongside her husband as new parents with young children. Desiring to pass on the Faith, Family Formation gave them the tools to teach their children and build a Catholic culture in their family. Laurie is an advocate for parents, encouraging them in their role as primary educators in the Faith and exhorting them to help their children “foster an intimate relationship with Christ.” She has also helped establish a girls’ group and a boys’ group for Grades 4 through 6 that enhances family catechesis by focusing on virtues, saints and friendships.

Sheila Bauer
Sheila Bauer, Family Formation Editor

Sheila and her husband learned and taught the Faith to their children with the help of Family Formation at the Church of Saint Paul. She has also served as a catechist in the classroom and in a variety of other roles with children’s ministries. Going through the lessons with her family, and teaching in the classroom helped increase her knowledge in the Faith, and appreciate all the Catholic Church has to offer. Her gifts of creativity and attention to detail serve her well as she edits the English lessons and formats new resources to assist others in the implementation of Family Formation.

Marissa Furness
Marissa Furness, Family Formation Spanish Associate

As a cradle Catholic and transplant from California, Marissa was introduced to Family Formation by her husband who grew up at the Church of Saint Paul. Together they are teaching their children through the same model of family catechesis. Marissa has served as a classroom catechist for various grades and has been involved in different capacities in other children’s ministries. She uses her gifts as a native bilingual speaker to translate and edit the lessons and supplemental materials into Spanish and to assist our Spanish speaking partners in implementing the model.

Donna Shogren
Donna Shogren, Volunteer Coordinator and Office Assistant

Donna and her husband were introduced to Family Formation when searching for a sound preschool program for their oldest daughter.  Through the years, Family Formation has provided the support and resources needed to raise five children in the Faith and grow spiritually as a family.  After many years working as a volunteer, Donna now uses her gifts to help prepare lesson materials and coordinate the many committed volunteers.

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