Father, mother, and two songs participating at our Family at the Heart of Service event in 2018

Family Life Ministry Events


Early Catholic Family Life Program - Virtual Training

Early Catholic Family Life (ECFL) is a parent-child program that facilitates family interaction, parent peer-connection, and education.

We are hosting leadership training sessions for parishes new to this pilot project who will offer this program between June 2021 and May 2022. New volunteers for parishes currently running the ECFL program are also welcome to register, though program binders for leaders will be provided for an extra fee if needed.

  • Module 1 – Overview and Orientation: Tuesday, May 11, 6 to 9 p.m. [for everyone]
  • Module 2 - Parent Discussion Leader Training: Thursday, May 13, 7 to 9 p.m. [for parent discussion leaders and ECFL coordinators]
  • Module 3 – Early Childhood Leader Training: Saturday, May 15, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. [for early childhood leaders and ECFL coordinators]
  • Module 4 – ECFL Parish Coordinators: Saturday, May 15, 1:30 to 3 p.m. [for ECFL coordinators]

You will need a minimum of 3 volunteers from your parish (a program coordinator, one early childhood leader and /or childhood assistant, and one parent discussion leader) to attend training and to coordinate the program at the parish. The deadline to register is Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Once registration is closed, we will contact the ECFL program coordinator and pastor of your parish to confirm your invitation to attend training.

If you have any questions, please contact Annalisa Parente: aparente@archtoronto.org or 416-934-0606 ext. 569.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you there,

Office of Formation for Discipleship


Speakers Bio: Alan and Joanne Foley are the creators of the Early Catholic Family Life Program

For 14 years, Joanne was a Parent Educator and Administrator in a nationally recognized and acclaimed public school program called Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) offered in schools throughout Minnesota. As an ECFE teacher, Joanne partnered with other staff to write a hands-on curriculum for ECFE. The curriculum is based on the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child and is used to strengthen families through education and support of parents with their young children.

Realizing that the powerful ECFE model could be used effectively to help Catholic parents better form families with Christ at the center, Joanne then wrote another curriculum that focused on teaching parental values and on the spiritual life of children. The result was the Early Catholic Family Life program.

In creating and teaching this curriculum, Joanne found that parents were eager to learn how to communicate and teach their own moral and religious values to their children. As lifelong Catholics eager to evangelize within the local church, the Foleys decided that Early Catholic Family Life (ECFL) should be shared with their diocese and beyond. It was a natural fit, since, as a Business Administrator, Alan is familiar with the issues surrounding the implementation of new programs, and how to be successful in situations where financial and other resources are scarce. So in 2001, the Foleys began working with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Office of Marriage and Family Life to build the Early Catholic Family Life Program into what it is today.