Parish Catechetical Leaders Guidelines

A primary function of the catechetical office of the arch/diocese is to provide training and formation for parish catechetical leaders (NDC, p. 224). This includes basic, advanced and on-going formation.

The following framework for these guidelines is based on the National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers, created by the Alliance for the Certification of Lay Ecclesial ministers.

Each arch/diocese will determine how the following standards will be met.

“The single most critical factor in an effective parish catechetical program is the leadership of a professionally trained parish catechetical leader. Depending on the size and scope of the parish catechetical program, parishes should allocate their resources so that they are able to acquire the services of a competent and qualified catechetical leader (or someone who is in the process of becoming qualified and competent)” (NDC p. 225).


A Parish Catechetical Leader “demonstrates the qualities of human maturity needed for fruitful ministry with the people of God”  (National Certification Standard 1, 1.0).

Core Competencies 

  • Discern one’s own gifts and talents.
  • Keep a balanced life in ministry, family, personal life.
  • Integrate prayer and Scripture into one’s everyday reality.
  • Respect one’s own and other’s uniqueness, culture, background.
  • Integrate one’s spirituality on an on-going basis through community, self-reflection,  scripture, theological reflection.
  • Engage in lifelong personal growth and ministerial formation.
  • Understand the role of servant leadership.
  • Exhibit psychological health, marked by integrity, appropriate interpersonal boundaries, and the ability to honor and safeguard confidentiality.

STANDARD TWO – Spiritual 

A Parish Catechetical Leader “sharing in the common priesthood of all the baptized…demonstrates Christian spirituality as foundational to ministry, integrated in service with the people of God, and possessing a sacramental view of the world that recognizes the world can be a vessel of God’s presence and God’s transforming grace” (Standard 2, 2.0).

Core Competencies

  • Model ministry rooted in Baptism – being a person of prayer and sacrament.
  • Model the spirit of Jesus in one’s life and identity.
  • Develop ministerial and personal relationships  based on the Gospel.
  • Read the signs of the times and address current issues in Church and world.
  • Accept and articulate one’s vocation as coming from God and confirmed by the Church.
  • Understand that one’s personal call is in relation to the larger global mission of the Church.
  • Understand and practice theological reflection.
  • Develop and foster sensitivity to the spirituality of diverse cultural expressions.
  • Display openness to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, prayer, work, and practices that promote unity.

STANDARD THREE – Intellectual 

A Parish Catechetical Leader “ demonstrates understanding of the breadth of Catholic theological and pastoral studies as well as the intellectual skill to use that knowledge in ministry with God’s people from diverse populations and cultures” (Standard 3, 3.0).

Core Competencies

  • Know and integrate into ministerial practice a theology of revelation as embodied in Scripture, tradition, and creation.
  • Know and integrate into ministerial practice Trinitarian theology, Christology, pneumatology, missiology, Christian anthropology, and ecclesiology.
  • Know and integrate into ministerial practice a foundational understanding of the major events in the history of the Church, with special attention to the Second Vatican Council, and the perspective those events provide on the life of the Church today.
  • Know and integrate into ministerial practice theologies of liturgy, worship, and sacraments.
  • Know and integrate into ministerial practice a theology of the moral life, including Catholic social teaching for the transformation of Church and society.
  • Know and integrate into ministerial practice a theology of pastoral ministry as well as guiding principles for the practice of ministry in a given context.
  • Know and integrate the history and theology of Catholic spirituality into prayer and ministerial practice.
  • Know and integrate into ministerial practice a foundational understanding of canon law.
  • Know and integrate into ministerial practice a respect for other Christian communities and other religious traditions.
  • Know and integrate into ministerial practice a foundational understanding of the social sciences and humanities.
  • Know and integrate into ministerial practice knowledge of interculturalcommunication and linguistic/cultural skills (Standards 3.1-3.11).


A Parish Catechetical Leader “demonstrates a range of leadership and pastoral skills needed for functioning effectively in ministry” (Standard 4, 4.0). 

Core Competencies

  • Collaborate with others in creating a culture of evangelization and formation within their faith communities that enables each committed Christian to nurture and grow in relationship with God.
  • Understand and exercise compassionate pastoral care.
  • Engage in pastoral activity that promotes evangelization, faith formation, community.
  • Empower people to inculturate the Gospel and foster unity in diversity.
  • Include all members (intercultural, disabilities, elderly, etc.) in parish catechetical programs and processes.
  • Use modern means of communication technology to proclaim the Gospel.
  • Display leadership skills of collaboration, visioning, planning, communication, delegation, conflict management, decision making, supervision and evaluation of volunteers and employees.
  • Develop and nurture the prayer life of the community through a variety of prayer experiences.
  • Develop a vision of life-long faith formation.
  • Design, direct, implement and evaluate catechetical processes.
  • Implement the catechumenal model as the inspiration for all catechesis.
  • Model and foster evangelization throughout the parish community.
  • Implement all arch/diocesan safe environment guidelines and regulations.
  • Develop and implement parish catechetical policies and/or guidelines in accord with arch/diocesan policies and guidelines.
  • Use appropriate pedagogical techniques for diverse audiences.