CATECHIST FORMATION OVERVIEW

God calls you to be the BEST catechist you can be.

"Diocesan pastoral programs must give absolute priority to the formation of lay catechists." ~GDC, 234

Click here for a printable version of the "Catechist Formation Process"

For more information regarding the Catechist Formation Process, please contact Patty Rodriguez at:

Patricia.Rodriguez@rcan.org or 973-497-4297.

Frequently asked questions

What is Catechist Formation?


Formation is a process by which we grow in the knowledge and skills necessary to be effecitve catechists.




Why do I need catechist formation?


Catechist formation is necessary because we desire to serve the young people entrusted to our care to the best of our ability. Investing in this process equips you for the mission and will help you grow in your own relationship with God.




What are the Catechist Formation requirements for the Archdiocese of Newark?


Catechists in the Archdiocese of Newark are expected to seek BASIC Catechist Certification and ongoing formation. There are three areas of certification that must be completed in order to achieve Basic Certification: 1) Vocation of the Catechist, 2) Methodology and 3) Doctrinal When all three areas of formation (Vocation, Methodology and Doctrinal) are completed, the catechist has completed this initial formation process. (Click here for a detailed explanation and course offerings in each area.)




Where and how are the courses offered?





How do I begin the process?


Catechists are encouraged to begin with the "Vocation of the Catechist" course. However, in order to help you achieve your basic certification in the most efficient way possible, you may take courses in any order as your personal schedule permits.




How long will take me to complete the process?


Everyone works at his/her own pace. Catechists should aim to have taken the "Vocation of the Catechist" and "Methodology" within the first two years of their ministry as a catechist. On average, Basic Certification can take between and 4 years to complete.




Once I take a course, do I have to continue taking the courses in the same way?


Courses from any track may be used to fulfill requirements. You can mix and match the type of courses that you take according to your personal preferences and the your availability. (e.g. You may take the a live course for the "Vocation of the Catechist" and then take courses for other areas online.)




How do I keep track of my progress?


Catechists are encouraged to keep track of their progress and to keep copies of all certificates obtained. You can also CLICK HERE for a printable check list to help you keep track of your courses.




How do I get the certificates?


Certificates for the live courses are typically presented the day of the course. Online course certificates are sent by mail. Catechists receive a certificate each time they complete a course in a specific area. When a catechist completes all the courses required for all 3 areas of certification (e.g. Vocation certificate, Methodology certificate and Doctrinal certificate) he/she receives a certificate for Basic Catechist Certification. This final certificate is typically sent to the local parish and is presented there by the parish catechetical leader.




What happens after I am finished?


We are always growing in faith and skills. As catechists, we have an obligation to provide the best catechesis the young people and families entrusted to our care. Therefore, once initial formation catechists should take at minimum of 3 hours of continuing formation. CLICK HERE to see the many different continuing formation opportunities offered by the Archdiocese of Newark (e.g. Catechist Convocation, Bible/Men’s/Women’s conferences, online course work, etc.) Contact your parish catechetical leader or DRE for opportunities at your local parish.





The Dimensions of Formation:
Being, Knowing and Savoir-faire ~ GDC, 238
Why - Vocation of the Catechist
"The deepest dimension [of formation] refers to the very being of the catechist, to his/her human and christian dimension. Formation, above all else, must help him/her to mature as a person, a believer and an apostle."
~ GDC, 238
"The formation, above all, nourishes the spirituality of the catechist, so that his/her activity springs in truth from his own witness of life." ~ GDC, 239
"To "be" catechists! Not to "work" as catechists. Catechesis is a vocation: "Being a catechist", is the vocation. Not "working" as a catechist." ~ Pope Francis, Congress on Catechesis.
How - Methodology
"The catechist will be able not only to communicate the Gospel accurately, but also able to make those being  taught capable of receiving it actively..." ~ DCG, 112
“Catechists do not merely instruct their students about Christ; they lead them to him.” ~ NDC, p241
What - Doctrinal 
"This synthesis of faith should be such as to help the catechist to mature in his own faith and enable him/her to offer an explanation for the present hope in this time of mission." ~ GDC, 241
Ongoing Formation
Ongoing formation for catechists is to:
  • Help them harmonize the human, spiritual, doctrinal, and apostolic dimensions of their apostolate.
  • Keep them abreast of the life of the Church - its needs, new documents, and so on - and of changing social, cultural, ethnic, and religious circumstances
  • Help them overcome discouragement and burnout
~ NDC, 55

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