What can a lay person do with Certification courses?


#1

I noticed in my diocese in Pittsburgh they offer these certification courses. diopitt.org/ What would be the benefit of getting these as a layperson. I always heard that any Catholic can teach CCD without really education at all. What then would these profit besides a personal knowledge of the faith? I always feel so left out as a lay person not being able to get involved with my faith or helping or being around loving Catholics. I really wish I could find fellowship and I have no idea where to go.


#2

I've taken several certification classes from step.nd.edu/ (Notre Dame) and have no real intent to use the certificate. I just took them for personal enrichment and have found them to be very enlightening and helped me see Scripture in a far more profound light.

I can now speak more intelligently and correctly about the Church's teaching on some Scriptures and have found areas in which i was in error. I'd highly recommend them and any other Catholic course on the faith and Scripture. There's no downside and a massive upside.

God bless


#3

Someday down the road, you may decide to pursue some job or "ministry" or apostolate ... and perhaps a Masters degree might be required. OR a collection of certificates to demonstrate competency.

And sometimes, folks need to collect so many continuing education credits to renew a credential.

You just never know.

Buy a loose-leaf binder and some plastic sleeves and keep them available just in case you may need to display them for someone or other some day down the road.


#4

Many dioceses require certification to be a catechist or to teach in a Catholic school. It is always good to have a more in depth knowledge of the faith, how else will you be able to pass it on. Yes, in many places certification is not required and anyone can teach CCD. But, what kind of quality catechesis are the youngsters getting from someone who may know know their faith well or what the Church teaches. I once had a catechist question me about the section of the class book that teaches about Jesus as being God. I am not joking, she didn't know Jesus was God. Now I am not the DRE but I made sure the DRE found out about this ASAP.


#5

And that’s often a problem. People teach things that are not even close to what the Church actually teaches.

I’ve encouraged my catechists to get certified. It gives them at least a minimal level of knowledge. I think it also says that we take this ministry seriously and are willing to put time and effort into being the best catechists we can be.

I work with RCIA and I’m always there, so if the catechist is teaching something erroneous I’m in a position to say “that’s not what the Church says. Let’s look it up in the Catechism…” It’s different with children’s religious education where you have many different classes operating at once.

Getting up on my soapbox: When it comes to children’s religious education, my parish has trouble getting enough volunteers. I’ve often heard it announced that people shouldn’t worry if they don’t think they know enough because God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.

We wouldn’t accept that standard anywhere else. But it’s good enough for the kids. How very sad.


#6

Ideally, everyone who catechizes would have some type of certification/training/degree in theology/catechetics.

Practically, as SMD noted, parishes are often scrambling just to fill the catechist slots with people who actually want to be there.

Most dioceses recognize this, which is why volunteers often will start teaching even before they have received any formal training, provided they are at least working towards certification.

We cannot give what we do not have. Catechesis literally means "to echo down". We hand on that which we have received (going all the way back to what Christ handed on to the Apostles). If we haven't yet received it, it makes it a bit difficult to hand on. :p

So I would very much recommend going to the courses and learning as much about the faith as you can. It can only help. Even if you do not (yet) teach CCD, you may still be able to take the classes for your edification.

Also, since you're in Pittsburgh, the St. John Bosco conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville is just a stone's throw away. You can earn a lot of certification credit in one handy annual conference. :) This year, it is July 20-24.


#7

quote=dfp42;7545464]I noticed in my diocese in Pittsburgh they offer these certification courses. diopitt.org/ What would be the benefit of getting these as a layperson. I always heard that any Catholic can teach CCD without really education at all.

Not in the diocese of Pittsburgh, or in any diocese where the bishop is doing his job and regarding the role of lay catechist for what it is, an essential element in the Church’s evangelization, not just a warm-body volunteer position.

QUOTE]What then would these profit besides a personal knowledge of the faith?

what more golden reward could you have than growth in your faith? it would be worthwhile for that reason alone even if you don’t choose to use your new found gifts in service to your parish.

I always feel so left out as a lay person not being able to get involved with my faith or helping or being around loving Catholics. I really wish I could find fellowship and I have no idea where to go.

Get the certification required by the diocese, but first introduce yourself to the religious education director of your parish, the cost may be paid in full or part by the parish if you offer your services. The catechists in most parish form a tightly knit spiritual support group and as a class are some of the best Catholics and best friends you will find anywhere. Your instinct is right that this is your entree to fuller involvement in your parish.

yes all the catechists in our parish are certified, or on their way to that goal. We can teach the faith but what I cannot teach or impart is the experience of true conversion and deeply lived personal faith. That is what I look for in recruiting catechists. The longer I am in the parish the more I get to know people so it becomes easier to spot and talk to likely candidates. We rarely have to rely on a “warm body” to fill a class, although we do recruit especially from among parents who have been involved as volunteers and ask them to step up to full charge catechists. Almost all find it very rewarding personally and spiritually when they do say yes. Those new volunteers of course have new catechist orientation and child safety immediately, finish basic certification in the parish before the year is out, and the are encouraged to seek diocesan certification or master catechist. I may have temporary gaps in some areas but by waiting for the right person we usually manage to attract people whose commitment lasts more than one year, and who are invested in improving the program overall, and in growing in their personal knowledge of the faith.

One thing that helps give us a ready pool of volunteers, who then go on to become full charge catechists after a couple of years, is that the sacramental parent meetings are structured so that over the course of the child’s preparation the parent has actually completed the basic catechist certification classes as well. All the parents have child safety and program orientation as well, so that any of them can be a classroom volunteer if they pass the background check. If they move up to catechist they are expected to pursue the next level of advanced certification and complete it within 3 years, and almost all have done this.

My challenge to all you who have achieved such certification or credentials in your diocese. Are you using your gift to evangelize in some capacity? If not, why not? Don’t tell me, answer to the Holy Spirit.


#8

Have you thought about getting involved with the RCIA? Maybe speak with the current director in your parish and see if they need help. I know in our area the director is usually open to having someone come in and participate or even to act as a sponsor.


#9

[quote="LARSCOUT0311, post:8, topic:228729"]
Have you thought about getting involved with the RCIA? Maybe speak with the current director in your parish and see if they need help. I know in our area the director is usually open to having someone come in and participate or even to act as a sponsor.

[/quote]

Dear dfp42,

One day I was minding my own business and one of our priests asked me if I would mind helping out at an RCIA program. Just kind of sit in the back and help out as needed. In return they would give me a free book. That was good enough for me.

The course was excellent. Supervised by a bishop, by the way, and also conducted by very knowledgeable priests and included some bible history [and the book had an outstanding map of the Holy Land] as well as all of the essentials of the faith and God's love for us, etc.

And I was asked to be a "sponsor" at the Baptism / Confirmation ceremony. *

Since I was now a "godfather", I took my new responsibility very seriously.

So I called my "godchildren" after a few weeks to see how they were getting on.

AND THEY WERE NOT GOING TO MASS!

They had NO IDEA.

They just had this "hunger" to be Catholic ... and I don't know ... maybe the Holy Spirit was "pushing them" by giving them the "urge" at this particular time to be Catholic, but really didn't know what that meant in real life.

So I bought some rosary beads and some little booklets and invited them one at a time to lunch ... just McDonalds, because I didn't have any money and we were all working and had to squeeze in the time at lunchhour ... and told them that they had to get to Mass each Sunday and holy days, and etc ... a couple of sentences on how to go to Confession and what to confess [venial versus mortal sin]. And what's a mortal sin. And where to get more stuff to read.

*

I also bought each one a really nifty calendar from www.lifeeternal.org* that has ALL the Saints' days.

And told them that they now had a "license to learn" and that as Catholic adults they had a responsibility to build on their RCIA basic training and to read more and go upward from there. That since they didn't have a "cultural" or family history of Catholicism to work with, that they had to start their own family Catholic history by self-study.

One fellow said that after decades of sort of semi-Christianity ... but never baptized until now ... that he just now realized that the Lamb of God ... is Jesus.

So, YES, by all means, volunteer to help out ... especially since you are interested ... and the fellowship is fabulous.*


#10

[quote="dfp42, post:1, topic:228729"]
I noticed in my diocese in Pittsburgh they offer these certification courses. diopitt.org/ What would be the benefit of getting these as a layperson. I always heard that any Catholic can teach CCD without really education at all. What then would these profit besides a personal knowledge of the faith? I always feel so left out as a lay person not being able to get involved with my faith or helping or being around loving Catholics. I really wish I could find fellowship and I have no idea where to go.

[/quote]

Depends on the diocese. In Hawaii, if you got a certificate there were different levels you could get which gave a lay person some kind of credentials when, for example, teaching catechism classes.


#11

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