Basic Catechist Certification
BASIC CATCHIST CERTIFICATION
CATECHIST CERTIFICATION— AT A GLANCE —
Frequently Asked Questions on: “How to Get Certified as a Catechist”
Your Parish Catechetical Leader (DRE, CRE, DFF, DCM, etc.) is crucial to assisting you in the process of Catechist Formation.
Who needs to be certified as a basic catechist?Any person who is formally catechizing (teaching) others in theCatholic faith (doctrine, practices, theology, etc.), within the Diocese of Fresno, must be certified to a minimum level of BASIC Catechist.
Does this only apply to people who are “teaching” in Faith Formation programs?No. This applies to all non-ordained persons within the Diocese who teach others about the Catholic faith including marriage prep, sacramental prep, baptism prep, RCIA (adults, youth, and children), teachers in Catholic schools, home-schooling groups, adult faith formation, etc. If you are not ordained and are formally teaching a class that passes on the Catholic faith then you must be a certified catechist.
Must I complete the certification process before I can begin teaching?No. As long as you are in the process of being certified and under the direction of a Pastor and/or a Parish Catechetical Leader (DRE, CRE, RCIA Director, etc.), then you can conduct lessons. You must begin the certification process as soon as possible within your parish/deanery.
How long do I have to complete my certification?Once you begin working towards certification, you have two (2) years to complete the process. An extension can be granted for special circumstances.
Is my certification valid outside of the Diocese of Fresno?No. Basic Catechist certification under the current certification process is only valid within the Diocese of Fresno. Statewide certifications begin at the Diocese of Fresno Advanced Catechist level. The Diocese of Fresno Advanced Catechist Certification is equivalent to a California Catechist Certification at the Basic Level.
How much does it cost for certification?There is no direct cost to submit your paperwork, to have it reviewed, and receive a certificate from the Diocese. There may be costs, however, for the various elements required to achieve certification (courses, spiritual development, Congress, etc.). The amount each person would pay can vary. You can check with your Parish Catechetical Leader or the Diocesan Coordinator of Catechetical Ministries for more information on your particular costs.
What are the requirements for Basic Catechist Certification?
The following is alisting of the specific requirements for certification as a Basic Catechist for the Diocese of Fresno:
- Completion of 32 hours of Echoes of Faith Plus formation program (broken down into four modules of formation)
- Completion of 8 hours of personal spiritual development
- Attendance at one Diocese of Fresno Congress
What courses make up the Echoes of Faith Plus formation program?
- Module 1: I Believe/We Believe (T), Getting Started as a Catechist (CD), The Learner (M)
- Module 2: Liturgy & Sacraments (T), Roles of the Catechist (CD), Adult Faith Formation (M)
- Module 3: Prayer & Spirituality (T), Person of the Catechist (CD), The Scriptures Part 1 (T)
- Module 4: The Scriptures Part 2 (T), Catholic Morality (T), Methods—by grade levels (M)
T = Theology (4 hours per title) CD = Catechist Development (2 hours per title) M = Methodology (2 hours per title) - each module totals 8 hours for a program total of 32 hours
What happens if I miss a session—do I have to start all over?Life happens to all of us and it would be unfair and unreasonable to expect someone to repeat the process if they missed a session. There are a variety of ways that the material can be covered, if this happens. It would be up to the learner to coordinate with their Parish Catechetical Leader the best way to accomplish this.
Echoes of Faith Plus is a learner-driven, facilitator-led style of learning. The facilitator is there to guide the learning group through videos and discussions. It is through the faith and experience sharing that the learning takes place. Facilitators are experienced catechists who are capable of providing not only guidance to the group, but answers to learners’ questions, when needed. Each course has a series of video segments and discussion questions, which are done usually as a large group, however, some may be done in smaller groups or individually. Participants in the group are expected to share in the discussions.
What style of learning is used in the Echoes of Faith Plus formation program?
I began the certification process before the Echoes of Faith Plus formation program was
No. If you began your certification under the previous modular system you can speak with your Parish Catechetical Leader or the Diocesan Coordinator of Catechetical Ministries to find out what specific courses (or parts of courses) you may need in order to complete the formation program. All of the 17 Foundational Topics in the former modular system have been correlated to the Echoes of Faith Plus formation program. Any portions you have completed, if within the past three years, will still be counted towards your certification.
utilized. Do I have to start all over?
Do I have to take the Echoes of Faith Plus courses through my parish?No, although this would be the ideal situation, as you will be most familiar with those persons. This could, also, be the most cost effective way to complete the courses. If it is not possible, you can take the courses through your deanery or at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. Course offerings that are open to all persons are listed on the Diocesan website: www.dioceseoffresno.org.
What exactly is ‘personal spiritual development’?Personal spiritual development is any development that is not “learning” or “instructional” in nature and helps you to grow in your own personal spiritual life and relationship with God. It can be spiritual direction, lectio divina, prayer groups, Eucharistic adoration, parish missions, retreats, listening to or viewing tapes/DVD’s - anything that causes you to reflect upon your spiritual life and draw you into a closer conversion and relationship with God. It is not bible study, workshops, or lectures where you are learning or being instructed about techniques, processes, or information.
Can I substitute a regional Congress (such as L.A.) for theDiocesan Congress requirement?No. That is not possible at the Basic Catechist certification level. Our Bishop has asked that we maintain this requirement locally so that basic catechists may be given the opportunity to network and meet other catechists in our Diocese. Substitutions for regional Congresses can be made only at the Master Catechist level.
For the observation component, who would be able to fulfill that requirement for me?It is preferred that the person observing you, and vice versa, be a Master Catechist. However, this is not practical in all situations. In order to complete the observation form the catechist must:
- be currently certified at the Basic level or higher
- if not a certified catechist, they must have four years of catechetical experience and approval of either your Pastor or Parish Catechetical Leader.
Do I have to complete the observation process over two separate sessions?No. You can “team teach” during a session and complete this requirement. You can observe the other catechist for half of the session and then they, in turn, can observe you.
I’ve completed all of the requirements, now what do I do?After you have completed all of the requirements, and filled out the Basic Catechist Report Form, take it to your Parish Catechetical Leader (or Pastor if your parish does not have a designated Catechetical Leader). They will sign the form and forward it to the Diocese for processing. Be sure to keep a copy of all forms for your own
records before submitting them.
How long, after submitting my forms, will it take before I receive my certificate?That depends. If all of your Report Form is complete and the completed observation form is included, then it should take no more than a couple of weeks after receiving your paperwork at the Diocese for you to receive your certificate. Certificates are mailed directly to you and your Parish Catechetical Leader will be notified of your certification. Supplying a copy of your certificate to your Parish Catechetical Leader for your file is strongly suggested.
For how long is my certificate valid?Certification is valid for four years from date of issue. In order to re-certify for an additional four years you must submit the following:
- completed Basic Catechist Re-Certification Form
- document 40 hours of continuing education/formation over the past 4 years (10 hours/year with a
- portion of the hours being in catechetical formation)
- document 8 hours of personal spiritual development
- attend one Diocese of Fresno Congress
- submit completed observation form
- currently be active as a catechist in the Diocese.
Again, the forms must be submitted through your Parish Catechetical Leader/Pastor. The new certificate will be sent to you. Always be sure to keep copies of all paperwork. It is not the responsibility of the Diocese or your Parish Catechetical Leader/Pastor to maintain a record of your continuing education/formation for re-certification purposes. That is up to each catechist to maintain and submit.
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