Letter from the Bishop on Catechist Certification

Dear Fellow Teacher of the Good News of Jesus Christ,

Peace be with you! Thank you for your ministry as a catechist in the Diocese of Belleville of Belleville. Your service as a catechist, informing, forming and transforming our young people in Christ, is a vital contribution to the Church whether in a Catholic school, Parish School of Religion, or other catechetical program. As you know, your vocation as a catechist is to collaborate with the Holy Spirit and help the next generation of Catholics to grasp the profound meaning that our faith gives to our journey from God to God.

The catechist forms the young Christian by creating an environment of spiritual awareness that flows from his or her own interior life.  Thus, before teachers even enter the classroom, their personal prayer, their casual encounter with a fourth grader on the playground, the way in which they relate to their fellow teachers, the manner in which they discipline an unruly youngster, all of these lay a foundation.  Their attitude of trust and respect, their recognition of the dignity and worth of each person will help to establish the rapport that will be necessary if they are to do more than teach them about faith.  If teachers are to help students to experience faith and to know the implications of that faith in their daily lives, the students must actually be able to participate in the teacher’s living faith.  Within this divine milieu the lay catechist, priest or religious forms the youthful Christian in the faith that comes to us from the Apostles.

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History of Catechist Certification

From the beginning of the Church catechists have received information on the faith, formation on the Christian life, and opportunities for transformation in Christ.   The concept of a formal process of certification is a recent development.  From the beginning of the Church in North America to the Second Vatican Council most dioceses in the United States relied upon informal catechetical training.  As the number of Religious Sisters increased, their communities provided faith formation which often included training as catechists.  Following Vatican Council II, a variety of lay movements arose which addressed the call for an increase in the active vocation of the laity. 

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Catechist Certification Handbook

pdf   (699 KB)pdf (699 KB)

Reflective Book Study for Catechist Credit

Another great way to deepen your Catholic Faith is through reading spiritually enriched books.  Catechists can read any of the books listed in the Diocesan pdf Private Reading revised January 2015 (280 KB) and then submit a 3-5 page reflective paper to the Office of Catechist Certification following the pdf Reading Guidelines (15 KB).  Many of the books listed are available to be checked out from the Diocesan Library.  To reserve a book, simply go to our Diocesan Library online.  If a book you would like to read is not on the Dicoesan pre-approved listing, catechists can submit a Request for Catechist Certification Form.

Catechist Certification - Webinars

All webinars must be:

1.  Catechetical in nature (one of the six tasks of Catechesis)

2,  From approved Catholic publishing websites, i.e. Sadlier, RCL Benziger, Pflaum, OSV, etc.

3.  Be able to be proven by the following:

  • Certificate of completion
  • Reflection

If a catechist watches/participates in webinar live or recorded, a certificate is required to be sent to the Office of Education.  If a certificate is not provided by the webinar publisher, the catechist will write a one-page reflection on the webinar.

If the above criterion is met, each 1 hour webinar will be worth 1 credit, 2 hour webinar will be worth 2 credits, and so on.

Links to webinar sites:

Sadlier Webinars

OSV Webinars

St Mary's Press Webinars

Catholic Apostolate Center

USCCB Leadership Institute

NCEA Webinars (catechetical webinars only)