Catechist Formation Program
The Catechist Formation Program provides the basic theological understanding, spiritual formation and catechetical methodology necessary for those who are appointed by their pastors and commissioned by their parishes to hand on the faith to youth and children. Training of the catechist is necessary to ensure that the faith is handed on in its integrity and in a manner that responds to the needs, learning styles, cultures and other special characteristics of those in their care.
There are four levels in the Catechist Formation Program.
- Level One provides you with opportunities for growth as a person of faith; effective teaching/facilitating skills; and a plan for your ongoing training and developing a spiritual life.
- Level Two deepens the training by focusing on essential areas of theological training, such as scripture, the Creed, and morality.
- Levels Three and Four are under revision.
What’s the idea behind catechist formation?
The Catechist Formation Program was developed to assist the catechist as the one who receives and responds to the call of Jesus Christ to share the light of faith with others. To be effective in this work, the catechist must understand, love, live and proclaim the Christian message with conviction and enthusiasm. The proclamation of this message by the catechist in the context of the parish community leads the faithful to a deepening of faith, a greater participation in worship and a more dedicated Christian service.
What’s the purpose of catechist formation?
The formation of the catechist has a three-fold purpose: to provide for the catechist’s own spiritual growth; to increase the theological knowledge out of which one catechizes; to expand skills in teaching methods through study and practice. Since God is the source and enabler of all catechesis, prayer is an integral part of the catechist’s formation.
Why should I become a certified catechist?
Certification is recognition by the Church that an individual has completed the Catechist Formation Program and has been given an opportunity to appropriate the catechetical content and skills necessary to be effective with our young people in a classroom setting.
The goal of catechist formation process is to ensure that the Church’s tradition is handed on to all children in our schools, parishes, and parish catechetical programs and to support catechists in their vital ministry with our children and youth
After completing the required Level One courses, the catechist achieves Level One certification by participating in a self-assessment process and an observation/evaluation while teaching a catechetical session. The catechist must serve in the parish catechetical ministry for one year before being eligible for certification.
Self Assessment Process
This Catechist Formation Review is based on information presented in the Spirituality and Theology sessions of the Level One Catechist Formation Program. This instrument provides you with an opportunity to review that information, to check your knowledge, and if necessary, to clarify your understanding of a particular point. As a requirement for Level One certification, you will be asked to print (for your own records) the Review Results and fill out a feedback form.
Make sure that you disable any pop-up stoppers before you begin. There are 104 multiple choice and true/false questions in this review with no time limit. The review averages about 50 minutes to take, although, depending on your speed, your time may vary. Please allot enough time to finish all the questions. When you are ready, you may begin the Review by clicking here.
If you need a hard copy of the Catechist Formation Review, please call the regional catechetical director in your county.
By completing the Level Two courses, the catechist achieves Level Two certification.
There are four levels in the Catechist Formation Program. Level One courses present the basic essentials of each topic while Level Two courses expand and deepen the understanding of the faith and how to hand it on with excellence. Levels Three and Four are taken through the New York Catholic Bible School (NYCBS).
- PRAYER AND SPIRITUALITY: presents the mission and vocation of the parish catechist, the norms and history of catechesis, an understanding of prayer and the ways of Catholic Christian prayer, the meaning and practice of the faith, the stages of faith growth and the distinction between faith, belief, doctrine, and theology. (Offered through Sakai/iEcho)
- METHODOLOGY: choose one of the following depending on what level the catechist teaches:
- METHODOLOGY FOR ELEMENTARY CATECHESIS: presents the Archdiocesan Guidelines for Catechesis, Grades Kindergarten to Six, the effects of culture on catechesis, the creation of an effective teaching environment, methods for positive discipline, effective lesson planning, stages of moral, intellectual, social and faith development, ways of meeting the needs of the special child, the effects of media on catechesis and the use of media in teaching. (Offered through Sakai/iEcho)
- — or —METHODOLOGY FOR ADOLESCENT CATECHESIS: presents the characteristics of the adolescent learner; prayer for adolescents; the Archdiocesan Guidelines for Catechesis, Grades Seven and Eight, creative approaches for adolescent catechesis, the role of parents in adolescent catechesis, sacramental catechesis for adolescents, and effective approaches in teaching human sexuality. (Offered through Sakai/iEcho)
- AN INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM: This course will introduce students to the multifaceted nature of Catholicism in a historical framework. Students will be introduced to key concepts such as the meaning of faith, the nature of revelation, the analogy of faith, the concept of social salvation, and an awareness of the Church as a “mystery.” In short, the course will help students to see the connection between their lives as Catholics and a God who uses history as a form of communication, who becomes incarnate, and who forms a sacramental community of faith. (Offered through Enlighten from Fordham University)
- UNDERSTANDING THE HOLY SCRIPTURE: This course will introduce students to basic concepts that are necessary for reading Holy Scripture. The students will learn how the books of scripture were comprised, the various types of scripture, and how the early Church chose books for inclusion in the Bible. The relationship between Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and in the life of the individual believer will be treated in the latter part of the course. (Offered through Enlighten from Fordham University)
- UNVEILING THE SACRAMENTS: This course will explain the meaning of a sacramental worldview and its significance for human happiness. Students will receive a brief history as to the development of the seven sacraments and particular instruction on the history and spiritual significance of each sacrament. Particular attention will be paid to baptism and Eucharist. (Offered through Enlighten from Fordham University)
- PRAYER AND WORSHIP: presents the nature, source, and expressions of Catholic Christian prayer, the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist and the other sacraments, sacramental’s, devotions, liturgical ministries and liturgical planning. (Offered through Sakai/iEcho)
- MULTI-CULTURAL CATECHESIS: presents the relationship between culture, society and Church, the history of the relationship of Christianity to culture, the introduction of the Gospel into culture, and the importance of adapting catechesis to the diverse ethnicities in the parish community. (Offered through Sakai/iEcho)
- SPECIAL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION: presents the rationale and need for Special Religious Education, the skills of the effective special religious education catechist, an overview of emotional, behavioral, developmental and physical challenges requiring special education. (Offered through Sakai/iEcho)
- UNDERSTANDING THE CREED: Students will be briefly introduced to the historical context behind the creeds before turning to consider the articles of the creed. The lectures will follow the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s treatment of the 12 articles of the Nicene Creed, with some particular care in addressing the issue of the final judgment. (Offered through Enlighten from Fordham University)
- MORAL AND SOCIAL TEACHING: Students will be introduced to a Catholic understanding of what it means to be human and how to reach fulfillment or happiness in life, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church sometimes refers to as beatitude. The course will cover how the Church understands conscience, sin, virtue, and the common good. Students will learn key distinctions such as the difference between an act being immoral and being sinful. (Offered through Enlighten from Fordham University)
- PRAYER AND SPIRITUALITY: Call to be a Catechist; Faith and Discipleship; Christian Prayer
- METHODOLOGY: choose one of the following depending on what level the catechist teaches:
- METHODOLOGY FOR ELEMENTARY CATECHESIS: Planning a Lesson; Learning Environment; Understanding the Student; Media and Values; Guidelines and Culture.
- METHODOLOGY FOR ADOLESCENT CATECHESIS: Understanding the Adolescent Student; Media and Methodology for the Adolescent Student; Prayer and the Adolescent; Lesson Planning and Total Youth Ministry.
- THE PROFESSION OF FAITH: God and Revelation; Jesus the Fullness of Revelation; Church, the Christian Community; Introduction to Scripture.
- CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERIES: Sacraments of Christian Initiation; Liturgy and Eucharist; Sacraments at the Service of Communion; Sacraments of Healing
- LIFE IN CHRIST: The Human Person: in the Image of God; The Human Community; Law, Grace and the Common Good; Love the Lord Your God: Commandments 1 -3; Love Your Neighbor: Commandments 4 – 10.
- INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD TESTAMENT: presents the Catholic understanding of Divine Revelation history of the Jewish people, the Pentateuch, and its sources, the composition and purpose of the Historical Books, the literary books, the Prophets, the Wisdom Literature, the Psalms and biblical literary genres.
- INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT: presents a review of the books of the New Testament, the development of the Canon, an introduction to the Four Gospels, the content, interpretation and liturgical use of the Gospel accounts, the composition and purpose of the Acts of the Apostles, Epistles and the Book of Revelation.
Elective Courses (choose three):
- PRAYER AND WORSHIP: presents the nature, source, and expressions of Catholic Christian prayer, the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist and the other sacraments, sacramentals, devotions, liturgical ministries and liturgical planning.
- MULTI-CULTURAL CATECHESIS: presents the relationship between culture, society and Church, the history of the relationship of Christianity to culture, the introduction of the Gospel into culture, and the importance of adapting catechesis to the diverse ethnicities in the parish community.
- SPECIAL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION: presents the rationale and need for Special Religious Education, the skills of the effective special religious education catechist, an overview of emotional, behavioral, developmental and physical challenges requiring special education.
- CATHOLIC MORAL PRINCIPLES AND CONTEMPORARY ISSUES: presents a review of basic Catholic moral principles, Catholic teaching on the nature of human sexuality, bioethics, and life issues.
- THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD: presents an overview of the nature, mission, and history of the Catholic Church, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium ET Spes).
- CHRISTOLOGY: presents the Church’s understanding of the person and nature of Jesus Christ based on the New Testament, the early Church Fathers, and Councils.
- UNDERSTANDING THE APOSTLES’ CREED: course examines the Apostle’s creed as presented in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- THE SOCIAL MISSION OF THE CHURCH: presents the history, biblical roots, and seven main principles of Catholic social teaching.