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.
This call to discipleship and full, conscious, and active participation in the life of the Church resulted in significant changes in catechesis/faith formation in the United States. As more and more laity fulfilled their baptismal promises through parish ministry (including schools), the need for a more formal structure for training became apparent. This more formal structure developed into Catechist Certification. Catechist Certification began in the Diocese of Belleville in the 1980s. Since that time their have been several revisions. At first it was designed for the Catholic school teachers. Through time a parish level developed for PSR catechists/teachers. The 2008 revision brought all catechists into the same process and certification, and increased the formational component. This revision marks five years of the current tier process. We are grateful for the commitment of teachers, catechists, facilitators and presenters who continue to make this program a success.