“The single most critical factor in an effective parish catechetical program is the leadership of a professionally trained catechetical leader.”
-National Directory for Catechesis, N. 54, B5
What is Catechesis? This is the name given to all of the Church’s efforts to make disciples, to help people believe in Jesus, and instruct them in the Christian way of life. It is one element of the Church’s evangelizing mission. Catechizing and being catechized are lifelong responses and responsibilities of Catholics.
Catechist Vocation: The vocation of catechist is a “pivotal dimension of the Church’s pastoral activity and a significant element in all the Church does to hand on the faith” (NDC #19C). The intentional witness that catechists demonstrate by opening themselves to God and helping to disclose God’s saving words and actions to others in their community is an awesome responsibility and privilege. What is the Object of Catechesis? The National Directory for Catechesis states: “The object of catechesis is communion with Jesus Christ.
Catechesis leads people to encounter Christ, to be transformed by him and to discover themselves and the meaning of their lives in him” (NDC #19B). Catechesis aims to bring the believer to an ever more mature faith in Jesus Christ, a deeper knowledge and love of his person and message, and a firm commitment to follow him. Why Catechist Formation? In order to present the Catholic faith in its fullness and in a way that is attractive, those who catechize need preparation and on-going formation.
Catechist formation is to ensure that catechists develop their knowledge of the faith and the Gospel message as well as their ability to transmit it. Formation as a catechist is integral to one’s vocation as a catechist. Pastors as well as the whole community are to support catechists in their formation. Why Catechist Certification? Certification in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is a means of publicly recognizing the commitment that a catechist has made to continuous formation in faith, knowledge and skills. It is the Bishop who, through his administrative staff, certifies catechists. Pastors are to ensure that catechists are well formed. Attaining certification attests that the catechist has met a standard of preparation and competency appropriate for this vital ministry. Catechists who become certified can feel confident that they are fulfilling the requirements of the Church. What is the Catechist Formation/Certification Process?
The Catechist Formation and Certification Process is the way which catechists teaching in both our Catholic school system and our parish programs become certified to teach religion in our diocese. All catechists, upon assuming their responsibilities, must undergo an Orientation at the parish, and then continue toward Basic Formation and Ongoing Formation. Once the requirements are met, catechists are to notify the Parish Director and apply for certification with the Diocese. Any previous formation within or outside the Diocese may be acceptable.
Currently, the certification program will continue to offer online courses throughout the year in partnership with the Virtual Learning Community of Faith Formation Program developed by the University of Dayton. Visit the website and review the course catalog and course calendar: https://vlcff.udayton.edu The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston offers catechists and other adult learners in the Diocese a 50% discount on the regular registration fee of $50.
When you register, be sure to click on the Menu item that shows Wheeling-Charleston as a member partner. The discount cost to you is $25 for the 5-week online courses and $20 for the 3-week seminars. Plus you are responsible for your course books. Parishes are to encourage and support all catechists– of children, adolescent youth and adults– in their ongoing faith formation. See the EVENT CALENDAR in the Department of Formation & Mission Menu box for faith formation opportunities. Protecting God’s Children – Office of Safe Environment