Welcome to the Office for Lay Ministries.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that: “A catechist must develop the skills necessary to effectively teach the heart and mind of Christ as proclaimed in the teaching of the Church. Training in theology as well as classroom management and pedagogy are essential elements in a catechist’s preparation and formation.” CCC 906. Bishop David Zubik, our bishop, has challenged all of us to be the Church Alive!, to communicate the faith in ways that are ever faithful and ever new. Being Alive necessitates an openness in the heart of every catechist to continually grow in the faith. Our training and the joy we gain from our own education can help us accomplish this.
In our diocese, it is the policy, that every catechist gain catechetical certification. Catechetical certification for volunteer catechists consists of completion of four basic courses: CREED, SACRAMENTS, MORALITY, and METHODS (appropriate to the age level being taught); and updating that certification with 30 additional hours of course work every five years thereafter. It is also possible to achieve advanced certification which consists of 60 hours of course work beyond basic certification, three years of experience teaching after gaining basic certification, and the recommendation of one’s pastor. Continuing certification after obtaining advanced certification requires 30 additional hours of course work every five years. The 60 hours for advanced certification needs to be obtained in specific areas (15 hours Scripture, 15 hours Doctrine, 15 hours Morality, 10 hours Electives, 5 hours Catechetics or Methods). Equivalent credit for college theology courses can be considered by submitting your college transcript to the Office for Catechetical Ministries and Catechesis.
COURSE DESCRIPTIONSFOR BASIC CERTIFICATION
Basic Catechetical Certificationis earned by successfully completing a four component course. Three of the four components: CREED, SACRAMENTS, and MORALITY are based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The fourth component is a methods course based on the age or area the catechist will be teaching (elementary religious education, elementary Catholic school, youth ministry, junior high/middle school, special religious education, sacraments, RCIA/CIC, adult religious education). The three doctrine courses are systematic with the integration of prayer, vocabulary, catechetical principles, presentation, discussion, appropriate assignments and evaluation. The methods courses are process based and include practice and evaluation. The doctrine courses are referenced to the Sacred Scriptures, The Teaching of Christ 5thedition, General Directory for Catechesis, National Catechetical Directory, and A Review of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The MORALITY component includes the Catholic Vision of Love.
The four components may be taken in any order. It is necessary to complete all four components to gain basic/provisional certification.
CREED: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
This six week or fifteen hour doctrinal component of basic certification addresses the topics of: God, The Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth; Jesus, God’s Word Incarnate; Paschal Mystery; Holy Spirit: Revelation of the Trinity; and Church. Formal material regarding Prayer in the Christian Life is also addressed in this course. Both Scripture and prayer are utilized in each lesson. The purpose of each doctrinal component is to ground the catechist in an adult understanding of the faith. He or she in turn will be charged to translate this same faith in appropriate ways to the age/grade level of students he or she will be teaching. Practical assistance with the later translations will be provided in the Methods Components and in further workshops and courses taken for enrichment. The course is geared toward all catechists working with any age group cradle to grave: parish religious education and Catholic schools, special religious education, youth ministers, catechists for adults and RCIA catechists. Parents and any interested adults can also benefit greatly from the course.
SACRAMENTS: CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERIES
This six week or fifteen hour doctrinal component of basic certification includes the topics of: The Sacramental Economy and Actions of the Church; The Sacraments of Initiation, Part A: Baptism and Confirmation; The Sacraments of Initiation, Part B: Eucharist; The Sacraments of Healing; and Sacraments at the Service of Communion. Formal material regarding the Traditional Prayer (Our Father) is addressed during the course. Scripture and prayer are utilized for each lesson. This course addresses an adult understanding of the faith. It is geared toward all catechists working with any age group cradle to grave: parish religious education and Catholic schools, special religious education, youth ministers, catechists for adults (marriage preparation, preparation for infant baptism) and RCIA catechists. Parents and any interested adult can also benefit greatly from the course.
MORALITY: LIFE IN CHRIST
This seven week or twenty-one hour course is a combination of topical material from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and foundational material for the Catholic Vision of Love. The topics include: Dignity of the Human Person; Created Both Free and Responsible; the Problem of Personal Evil: Sin; Salvation—The Moral Law, Grace and Justification; Human Community/Social Teaching; and Guidance in the Practice of Love of God and Neighbor. These first six lessons based on an adult understanding of faith draw upon Scripture and prayer and integrate objectives from the Catholic Vision of Love. The seventh lesson is necessary for those catechists who will be teaching the Catholic Vision of Love Lessons to Grades 5-8 and is optional for all other participants. The seventh lesson covers the Foundational Principles for the Catholic Vision of Love, the student background and the four specific lessons for each grade level 5-8. The course is geared toward all catechists and is appropriate for parents and interested others.
METHODS (ELEMENTARY RELIGIOUS EDUCATION)
Elementary Methods is designed for catechists whose ministry focuses on children in grades K-6. This six week or 15 hour course is geared toward the volunteer catechist and makes no assumption of any college level education courses in the catechist’s background. The course is a mixture of foundational principles and practical skills. It includes such topics as: Catechesis and Human Development, Learning Styles, Methods, Classroom Management and Discipline, and Catechetical Materials I & II. The course is based primarily on the General Directory for Catechesis and particular documents and policies developed by the Diocese of Pittsburgh such as the Catechetical Curriculum Guidelines and Principles, Policies and Guidelines for Parish Programs of Religious Education. The pedagogy and faith concepts grounding the methods are based on the Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and The Teaching of Christ 5thedition.
METHODS (JUNIOR HIGH/MIDDLE SCHOOL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION)
Junior High/Middle School Methods is designed for catechists whose ministry focuses on young adolescents in grades 6-8. Much like the elementary methods, this six week or 15 hour course is geared to the volunteer catechist. It also includes a mixture of foundational principles and practical skills geared toward the young adolescent. The topics included are: Catechesis and Human Development, Learning Styles, Methods, Classroom Management and Discipline, and Catechetical Materials I & II (the latter addresses media and culture). The primary resources for the course are the General Directory for Catechesis, the Catechetical Curriculum Guidelines and Principles, Policies, and Guidelines for Parish Programs of Religious Education. Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Teaching of Christ, 5theditionundergird the pedagogy and faith concepts addressed in this course.
METHODS (YOUTH MINISTRY/ADOLESCENT)
Adolescent Methods is designed for youth ministers and catechists whose ministry focuses on youth in grades 9-12 and utilizes a large number of resources from the universal Church, the United States Catholic Conference (USCC), and the Diocese of Pittsburgh. This methods course will expand upon the foundations of comprehensive youth ministry as presented in the USCC 1997 document "Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry." Additional material is also presented on adolescent spiritual, physical and psychological development as well as diocesan policies as they pertain to youth ministry.
METHODS (SPECIAL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION)
Pathways to Welcome and Inclusion: Catechesis and Methods for teaching students with disabilities.
This six week course will introduce the catechist to the major disabilities and present ideas on methods for catechizing special needs students. Special attention would be given to children with Learning Disabilities, ADD/ADHD, Autism and Behavior Disorders. The Church documents pertaining to persons with disabilities will be shared as well as ideas on the pastoral concerns of people with disabilities and their families.
RCIA CATECHIST TRACK
The catechumenate (RCIA) is not a course; it is an "apprenticeship" grounded in personal conversion to Jesus Christ and geared to the concrete living of a Christian life in the midst of the Catholic community. Among the various initiation ministries, the catechist plays a crucial role, providing catechesis that is "comprehensive and complete in scope, accommodated to the liturgical year, and suited to the needs of the candidates" (RCIA).
This course examines the various stages of the initiation journey to highlight the unique role of the catechist. Prerequisites:
- Working familiarity with the RCIA process and the ritual text (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults)
- Completion of survey course in Catholic Doctrine (diocesan core curriculum – basic certification, previous CCM, or equivalent)
CATECHIST CERTIFICATION PROGRAM COURSE FEES:
3 or less
- Catholic Vision of Love Workshops $20.00
- Basic Certification Courses (Creed, Sacraments, Methods) $30.00
- Morality (including CVOL) $40.00
All interested adults are welcome to attend these courses.
All courses must have a minimum of 10 paid participants THREE WEEKS before the starte date of course or it will be cancelled.
Registrations are to be submitted no later than THREE WEEKS before start date.
Course fees apply to ALL PARTICIPANTS. It is the expetctions that parishes or schools will pay the fee for all catechetical and school personnel and have provided for such in the parish/school educational budget. Interested adults are responsible for their own payment of the course fees. (Contribution to the course fee enables the continuation of quality programs for the future.)