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Information for Catechists

Protecting God's Children

One very important requirement for all catechists and other adults who have regular contact with children is to attend a "Protecting God's Children" training session offered by the Diocese of Grand Rapids. These sessions are offered throughout the year in various parts of the Diocese.

You can register for a PGC session on the VIRTUS webside. Here is how:

Go to: www.virtus.org
On the left side of the page, in the green column, click on the word “Registration” (in yellow font)
Click on “View a list of sessions”
Click in the box stating “Select your organization”
Scroll down to “Grand Rapids, MI (Diocese) and click on it
Click “Select”
Scroll down the page to see the locations
Go to the top of the page and click the “Start Registration” box
Complete each step for the registration

Please let the Faith Formation Office know when you have met this requirement. Thank you!

Basic Certification Process

The National Directory for Catechesis acknowledges that catechists need to be prepared for their role by appropriate training. The diocesan Office of Faith Formation provides a process to help catechists become more competent in their ministry with adults, youth and children. The Basic Certification process for catechists has three steps:

BASIC LEVEL I

It begins with 8 hours of formation, with 2 hours in each of the 4 following dimensions of formation:

  • CATECHIST (personal faith development)
  • CONTENT (deeper understanding of the content of our faith)
  • METHODS (methods to be used in teaching the faith)
  • LEARNER (an understanding of child/youth development)

Upon completion of the first 8 hours of formation, a Basic Certification Level I will be issued by the diocesan Office of Faith Formation. This level is valid for two years.

BASIC LEVEL II

Within those two years, it is expected that the catechist obtain 16 more hours of formation (for a cumulative total of 24 hours), with 5 hours of formation in each of the 4 dimensions above plus 4 additional hours in any dimension (5 x 4 = 20 + 4 = 24). Upon completion of the additional 16 hours (24 total), a Basic Certification Level II will be issued by the diocesan Office of Faith Formation. This level is valid for three years.

BASIC LEVEL III

Within the next three years, it is expected that the catechist obtain 16 more hours of formation beyond Basic Level II (for a cumulative total of 40 hours), with 8 hours in each of the 4 dimensions plus 8 in any dimension (8 x 4 = 32 + 8 = 40). Upon completion of the additional 16 hours (40 hours total), a Basic Certification Level III will be issued by the diocesan Office of Faith Formation. This level is valid for three years.

Tracking certification hours

The parish Office of Faith Formation has forms to help catechists keep track of the formation sessions they attend--one for a single in-service, event or workshop and another for an all-day conference with multiple workshops.

While the parish Office of Faith Formation will do what it can to support catechists in their efforts to obtain certification, catechists are responsible for keeping track of their own formation records and submitting these to the parish Office of Faith Formation so that they may, in turn, be submitted to the diocesan Office of Faith Formation for official recognition. The parish Office of Faith Formation will review catechist records annually in May/June and submit applications for various levels of certification at that time.

Catechists are welcome to check the progress of their certification at any time to see if our records need to be updated.

Online Learning

Catechists can fulfill the diocesan requirements for Basic Certification through a variety of online formation opportunities as well.

C21 Online

School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College
C21 Online, a program of Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, offers online courses for adult spiritual enrichment and faith formation. (C21 is short for “Church in the 21st Century.”) To learn more about upcoming seminars, visit www.bc.edu/schools/stm/c21online/

Catholic Distance University (CDU)

Through our partnership as a diocese, CDU seminars and Catechism courses are offered at a discounted tuition rate of $30 per seminar or course. To learn more about the CDU-Grand Rapids partnership and upcoming seminars, visit www.cdu.edu/GrandRapidsDiocese/index.html

University of Dayton (VLCFF)

The Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF) is an internet distance-learning program administered by the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives at the University of Dayton. Anyone in our diocese can take a VLCFF course. Through our partnership as a diocese, cost is $40/five-week course and $30/three-week seminar. To see the full list of courses available, visit https://vlc.udayton.edu/calendar/#cycle-6a

Plan for Catechist In-services

Round I
Year 1--Creed
Year 2--Catholic Morality
Year 3--Scripture: Part I

Round II
Year 4--Church
Year 5--Liturgy and Sacraments
Year 6--Scripture Part: II

Each year there will be 4 sessions offered based on the theme of the year to ensure that catechists/aides are adequately prepared to fulfill the responsibilities of their role in passing on the faith to the children and youth of the parish. Catechists/aides are encouraged to participate in at least 8 hours of sessions or workshops each year that can be used toward official certification through in-services, other parish offerings, on-line learning or catechetical conferences that are offered in the diocese.

Resources for Catechists

RCL Faith First Web Site (click on "Catechists and Teachers" on left hand side of page)
Catechist's Journey is a blog reflecting on the joys and challenges of an eighth-grade catechist. It is for catechists and for all those who seek to more effectively proclaim the Catholic faith to others.
Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association Web Site (click on "Upcoming Events" on left hand side of page to go to a page that offers several formation opportunities, including "Catholic Speakers Online" that you can sign up for--it's free, and the topics are interesting for catechists)
3-Minute Retreats from Loyola Press
Sermons4kids.com
SuperKids WordSearch Puzzle Creator
eCatechist Check this out!