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Early Catholic Family Life

Early Catholic Family Life LogoEarly Catholic Family Life (ECFL)is an exciting, parent-child program that stresses the importance of putting faith at the center of family life. It is aimed at an underserved but essential part of all parishes – parents with children 0-5 years old. Designed as an 8-session 2-hour class, it can be offered weekly, monthly, on weekdays, weekends, or during evening hours. Each class includes early childhood, faith-based and fun activities for families.  ECFL consists of a parent-child interaction component, a parent discussion time, and a children’s time.  Through this program, parents are given an opportunity to learn more about their Catholic faith, discuss faith with other adults, and build supportive relationships within the parish.

Developed in 2000 by Joanne and Alan Foley along with the Office of Marriage, Family and Life of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Archdiocese of Toronto began piloting this program in 2018 with the generous support of donors through the Family of Faith campaign. Over the past 3 years, 12 parishes were selected to offer this program: 

  • Cristo Rei, Sainte-Famille, St. Mary Star of the Sea (Mississauga) 
  • St. John Vianney (Barrie) 
  • St. John Chrysostom (Newmarket)
  • St. Joseph the Worker (Oshawa) 
  • St. Thomas More, St. Barnabas (Scarborough) 
  • St. Patrick’s, St. James, Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Toronto) 


We are seeking more parishes to partner with us to continue to pilot this program. 

For more information or to express interest in training, please contact Patrick Douglas, Associate Director, Family Life and Special Projects, at 416-934-3400, ext. 509 or email


ECFL Promotional Videos

Early Catholic Family Life - Introductory video (5:56)
ECFL 1 - A comfortable place to begin your family's faith journey (0:36)
ECFL 2 - Supporting parents in teaching their young children our Catholic faith (0:26)
ECFL 3 - Ideas for bringing faith and prayer into your home (0:43)
ECFL 4 - Families with faith who learn from each other (0:35)
ECFL 5 - Exploring simple ways to live your faith at home each day  (0:32)
ECFL 6 - Open, honest conversations that help families grow in faith (0:24)
ECFL 7 - A safe place to ask questions and share answers about spirituality (0:39)
ECFL 8 - Exploring faith, fostering friendships (0:40)
ECFL 9 - Where you'll find caring families who value faith, family, and friendship (0:36)

Copyright © 2018. Used with permission from the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE). All rights reserved. Further use, duplication, or distribution is prohibited without express permission from CSCOE.

YouTube playlist of ECFL Songs

Training Videos

Position Descriptions

Important Links

The Early Catholic Family Life Program is funded through the generous support of donors to the Family of Faith Campaign

logo has a red cross over a blue cross wit the words "Family of Faith"

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