The Catholic Project, originally named The National Project, is rooted in developments in catechesis and religious education since Vatican II. It was part of the response in England and Wales to The General Catechetical Directory (1971).
The Project was established to support the partnership of home, parish and school in their differing and intimately related role in the religious development of children and young people. It soon became clear that for this partnership to flourish, it was vital to support and encourage growth and formation in the adult Christian community, so the title 'Living and Sharing Our Faith' was adopted.

In the 1980’s there was growing dissatisfaction in schools with the R.E. programme widely used in England and Wales.  NBRIA advised the bishops that either it should be revised or a new programme written. The Bishops’ Department of Education and Formation endorsed a new programme to be produced by NBRIA called PREP, Primary Religious Education Programme. This soon developed beyond the primary school not only into secondary education but into lifelong learning. Thus PREP became Living and Sharing Our Faith; a National Project of Catechesis and Religious Education. This was not only a vision but a process involving home, school and parish.

Fr Patrick Purnell SJ, the National Adviser for Religious Education, helped to develop and co-ordinate the National Project. His influential book Our Faith Story was a catalyst. It enshrined a new philosophy of religious education that came to be developed for England and Wales in the light of Vatican II and in the following year became Guidelines: A National Project of Catechesis and Religious Education. Our Faith Story, and other subsequent documents, have been significant in determining the shape and direction of Catholic Religious Education and Catechesis in England and Wales. In the thirty years, there have been significant changes in both the national and ecclesial culture, and considerable development and change in government education policies, impacting on all aspects of Catholic life at home, in school and parish. The Catholic Project continues to address these issues and the needs of the Church regarding R.E. and catechesis.

For more on the timeline of the Catholic Project please see our history page