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  #1  
Old Sep 16, '05, 2:08 pm
Mt19:26 Mt19:26 is offline
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Default Catechist Requirements

Not sure if this is the right forum. However, I was wondering what the requirements are for being a catechist in various parishes. At my parish we've had some bad catechists. One that was actually teaching that the Eucharist was merely a symbol to her class. This was a few years ago. Now I think they have improved their screening process. My wife is a catechist this year and had to go through an interview, take a test, and had a background check done which is great. She almost must take a class to get certified as a catechist. I believe this is all new to my parish.
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  #2  
Old Sep 16, '05, 3:12 pm
catsrus catsrus is offline
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Default Re: Catechist Requirements

In my old parish, one just had to want to be a catechist.
I volunteered for the pre-cat sessions and was shocked to hear some of the mis-information being given to the inquirees. When I spoke of this to the Nun who headed the process, I was told to pray for them. That's it. I asked that she at least sit in on a few sessions to hear for herself, but she never did. She was a very non-confrontational person and I think was afraid to confront these guys. In the meantime, the incorrect information was still being imparted.
Not wanting to directly contradict someone in front of the inquirees, I just backed out all together.
If your parish is training and screening volunteers, I think it's an excellent idea. The impressions and truths of The Catholic Church is made in R.C.I.A. and must be spot on!
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  #3  
Old Sep 16, '05, 3:21 pm
Forest-Pine Forest-Pine is offline
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Default Re: Catechist Requirements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mt19:26
My wife is a catechist this year and had to go through an interview, take a test, and had a background check done which is great. She almost must take a class to get certified as a catechist.
At our our parish we must be interviewed, go through a class, and have a background check. The purpose of all three is to avoid sexual abuse of children and elderly and all dealing with them must submit to the above. The class teaches stuff like not being alone with children of the opposite sex, not being out of hearing and/or sight of others, etc.

For training related directly to catechesis, we must sit in on one morning "retreat" where a deacon goes off on random philisophical "between the lines" suppositions on a particular topic of no interest to anyone. We all smile and nod, then eat lunch and go home, promptly forgetting whatever confusing stuff was said.

Another parish had no training program, but did expect us to use the book they provided and turn in lesson plans once a month.
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  #4  
Old Sep 16, '05, 4:53 pm
Didi Didi is offline
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Default Re: Catechist Requirements

Our parish recently added a commitment statement that everyone has to sign. I don't have the exact wording, but it affirms that the catechist has received all the sacraments through confirmation; if married that they were married in the Church; that they attend Mass every Sunday; that they will teach only the Truths of the Roman Catholic Church; that they will be obedient to the Magisterium of the Church, including the Holy Father, the local Bishop and the pastor.

I thought it was great!
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  #5  
Old Sep 17, '05, 11:58 am
awalt awalt is offline
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Default Re: Catechist Requirements

Our diocese has a set of certifications from someone just entering the program to advanced, and even progressing to college credit if someone wants to become a Director of Religious Ed. or something. The certifications are based on clock hours of courses you need to take, based on your area of specialization (young, adult, prison, etc.). You are also required to satisfying continuing education credits. I suggest you check your diocese's web site to see what they say.
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  #6  
Old Sep 17, '05, 12:46 pm
cameron_lansing cameron_lansing is offline
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Default Re: Catechist Requirements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest-Pine
....For training related directly to catechesis, we must sit in on one morning "retreat" where a deacon goes off on random philisophical "between the lines" suppositions on a particular topic of no interest to anyone. ...
How dreadful. I hope you related the experience to the pastor. Those charged with the duties of catechesis have a right to authentic formation and those who assist them are obliged to do so competently and faithfully. Speculation has no place in such formation, but perhaps the greater moral evil arises from provoking boredom.

Dcn John Cameron
Lansing
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  #7  
Old Sep 17, '05, 1:06 pm
rwoehmke rwoehmke is offline
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Default Re: Catechist Requirements

Quote:
Originally Posted by awalt
Our diocese has a set of certifications from someone just entering the program to advanced, and even progressing to college credit if someone wants to become a Director of Religious Ed. or something. The certifications are based on clock hours of courses you need to take, based on your area of specialization (young, adult, prison, etc.). You are also required to satisfying continuing education credits. I suggest you check your diocese's web site to see what they say.
When I was teaching High School Juniors some years back we had a similar set up and in the early 90's when the sexual abuse stuff rose up to bite us, a course was required along with the signing of a document that we would not abuse and would report any that we saw. I have been doing RCIA Instruction for about 15 years now and have no idea what is required today. I am going to inquire as I have a feeling that our newer RFP directors accept any warm body they can get as people are not exactly standing in line to teach on any grade level. I think a lot of our young parents were so shorted in their religous education and formation that it would not surprise me if the pool of qualified talent is rather small.
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  #8  
Old Sep 17, '05, 5:51 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Catechist Requirements

the basic requirement for catechists is the same as for a godparent or confirmation sponsor - practicing Catholic adult, fully initiated, not under canonical penalty or otherwise disqualified, asked and willing to serve, living in conformity with Church teaching including laws on marriage. Each volunteer applicant is interviewed by me, fills out an application with references (parish) and release for criminal background check (diocese). We do check references.

No new volunteer is put in a classroom unless they have prior experience that checks out with their former parish. Our catechists teach in teams, so barring unforseen circumstances, each classroom has two adults plus a teen aide (usually confirmation candidate). After a year as an aide, a volunteer is encouraged to become a catechist. Volunteers not married in the Church, still working on their own confirmation etc. can be aides, but not full charge catechists. They are encouraged and assisted in taking care of such matters. Our catechists are highly qualified, orthodox and excellent teachers. Those that are not don't last long.

Catechists must commit to a new catechist orientation (3 hours), a lesson planning-resource workshop (3 hours), Protecting God's Children/Ethical Conduct training (diocese, 3 hours), planning meetings at the end of each year, and a monthly catechist formation session (2 hours). Topics this year will be Diocesan Convocation, Teaching Scripture to Children, 7 Secrets of a Successful Catechist, and What Every Catechist should Know (including update on new NDC).

Dioceses offers Echoes of Faith for basic catechist certification (32 hours) but our pastor does not think highly of it, although catechists are given info on these courses in neighboring parishes, and on other courses offered in the dioceses for Catholic School religion teachers, Lay Ministry Institute and others, which all count toward certification. Once my courses are approved, which is a formality, they also will count toward diocesan certification.

I feed my catechists at every meeting (secret of my success, such as it is), host a party each year in my home or elsewhere off site, and bring in presenters for a catechist retreat in January.

I am not afraid to fire volunteers, and have done so. I do annual evaluations of each volunteer, keep good records, get them what they need to do their ministry, and observe them in the classroom. I don't play favorites, and try to treat everyone professionally. I am proud to say the parish shows appreciation for their work and dedication.
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  #9  
Old Sep 17, '05, 6:23 pm
Semper Fi Semper Fi is offline
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Default Re: Catechist Requirements

I think that the USCCB needs to have a set guideline up for Catechists and should make them all take at least a few classes. The information also needs to be taught from formal sources such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church or other documents which is verified by the USCCB. Had I been catechized properly, I would have not fell into Methodism during high school. We need to train our people better. Maybe we should think about having some sort of certification?
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  #10  
Old Sep 17, '05, 6:29 pm
Mt19:26 Mt19:26 is offline
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Default Re: Catechist Requirements

Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzleannie
the basic requirement for catechists is the same as for a godparent or confirmation sponsor - practicing Catholic adult, fully initiated, not under canonical penalty or otherwise disqualified, asked and willing to serve, living in conformity with Church teaching including laws on marriage. Each volunteer applicant is interviewed by me, fills out an application with references (parish) and release for criminal background check (diocese). We do check references.

No new volunteer is put in a classroom unless they have prior experience that checks out with their former parish. Our catechists teach in teams, so barring unforseen circumstances, each classroom has two adults plus a teen aide (usually confirmation candidate). After a year as an aide, a volunteer is encouraged to become a catechist. Volunteers not married in the Church, still working on their own confirmation etc. can be aides, but not full charge catechists. They are encouraged and assisted in taking care of such matters. Our catechists are highly qualified, orthodox and excellent teachers. Those that are not don't last long.

Catechists must commit to a new catechist orientation (3 hours), a lesson planning-resource workshop (3 hours), Protecting God's Children/Ethical Conduct training (diocese, 3 hours), planning meetings at the end of each year, and a monthly catechist formation session (2 hours). Topics this year will be Diocesan Convocation, Teaching Scripture to Children, 7 Secrets of a Successful Catechist, and What Every Catechist should Know (including update on new NDC).

Dioceses offers Echoes of Faith for basic catechist certification (32 hours) but our pastor does not think highly of it, although catechists are given info on these courses in neighboring parishes, and on other courses offered in the dioceses for Catholic School religion teachers, Lay Ministry Institute and others, which all count toward certification. Once my courses are approved, which is a formality, they also will count toward diocesan certification.

I feed my catechists at every meeting (secret of my success, such as it is), host a party each year in my home or elsewhere off site, and bring in presenters for a catechist retreat in January.

I am not afraid to fire volunteers, and have done so. I do annual evaluations of each volunteer, keep good records, get them what they need to do their ministry, and observe them in the classroom. I don't play favorites, and try to treat everyone professionally. I am proud to say the parish shows appreciation for their work and dedication.
I think every parish needs to do what you do. Too many parishes, I believe, simply just let almost anyone become catechists which out much of a check at all.

My brother, who lives in Corpus Christi, TX, has told me that his diocese is about in implement strict rules on what has to be done before a person can become a catechist.
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  #11  
Old Sep 18, '05, 1:23 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Catechist Requirements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Semper Fi
I think that the USCCB needs to have a set guideline up for Catechists and should make them all take at least a few classes. The information also needs to be taught from formal sources such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church or other documents which is verified by the USCCB. Had I been catechized properly, I would have not fell into Methodism during high school. We need to train our people better. Maybe we should think about having some sort of certification?
every diocese does have a certification program. There are national certification standards for DREs, youth ministers and catechists (as well as for Catholic school religion teachers), formulated by the various professional organizations such as NACM, under the direction of the bishops. The USCCB catalog has several books and resources on this topic. We don't need more standards and rules, we simply need to observe the standards and rules that already exist. The bishops also have guidelines for evaluating textbooks for conformity to the Catechism, and every diocese has a list of approved texts.

in most parishes catechists are volunteers. at the root of the problem, in my opinion, is the general attitude toward volunteers, that you accept anyone willing to work, that you don't hold volunteers to a standards as you do paid employees, and forgetting that the volunteer serves the ministry, rather than the ministry serving the volunteer. The other essential element missing in the way many parishes treat their volunteers--for any type of ministry including service to the liturgy--is spiritual formation.
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