Parish Catechists Guidelines
A primary function of the catechetical office of the arch/diocese is to provide training and formation for parish catechists. “Absolute priority” must be given to training and keeping qualified catechists to effectively transmit the Deposit of Faith (GDC 137, 156, 216, 219, 234).
The following framework for these guidelines is based on The General Directory for Catechesis, The National Directory for Catechesis and The National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers, as created by the Alliance for the Certification of Lay Ecclesial ministers.
Each arch/diocese will determine how the following standards will be met.
STANDARD ONE - Human
A Parish Catechist “demonstrates the qualities of human maturity needed for fruitful ministry with the people of God” (National Certification Standard 1, 1.0).
- Discerns one’s own gifts and talents.
- Keeps ministry, family, and personal life balanced.
- Respects one’s own and other’s uniqueness, culture, background.
- Engages in lifelong personal growth and ministerial formation.
- Exhibits psychological health, marked by integrity, appropriate interpersonal boundaries, and the ability to honor and safeguard confidentiality.
- Believes in the Gospel (and) a living, ever- deepening relationship with God that makes sharing faith and witnessing to the Gospel possible and credible.
- Commits to the Church, to whom the Word has been entrusted.
- Willing to foster community and to cooperate with other parish leaders in making the parish a focal point of community in the church.
- Commits to service of others that goes beyond responding to needs when asked, and takes initiative in addressing the needs of individuals and communities.
STANDARD TWO – Spiritual
A Parish Catechist “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).
- Models ministry rooted in Baptism – being a person of prayer and sacrament.
- Models the spirit of Jesus in one’s life and identity.
- Fosters relationships based on Gospel values.
- Accepts and articulate one’s vocation as coming from God and confirmed by the Church.
- Understands one’s personal call in relation to the larger global mission of the Church.
- Possesses a sensitivity to the spirituality of diversity.
- Displays openness to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, prayer, work, and practices.
- Integrates prayer and Scripture into one’s everyday reality.
- Develops spiritual growth through on-going community, self-reflection, scripture, theological reflection.
STANDARD THREE – Intellectual
A catechist, “demonstrates understanding of the breadth of Catholic theological, methodological and catechetical well as the intellectual skill, to use that knowledge in ministry with God’s people from diverse populations and cultures” (Standard 3, 3.0).
- Scripture and Revelation- A Catholic understanding of Revelation as embodied in scripture, tradition and creation.
- Dogmatic theology- Familiarity with the Church’s teaching in the areas of Trinitarian theology, Christology, pneumatology, missiology, Christian anthropology, and ecclesiology.
- Church History- 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.
- Liturgical and Sacramental Theology- An understanding of liturgy, worship, and sacraments in the life of the Church.
- Morality and Catholic Social Teaching- Articulation of the principles of Catholic morality including Catholic social teaching.
- Spirituality- Knowledge of the history and theology of Catholic spirituality and prayer.
- Ecumenism and interreligious dialogue- Knowledge the Church’s teaching on ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.
- Social sciences and humanities- Foundational understanding of the social sciences and humanities and their integration into catechetical practice
- Canon law- Basic understanding of Canon Law
- Culture and language studies- Understanding the meaning of inculturation and Evangelization of culture.
- Technology- Basic technological skills that can enhance the method of Evangelization and Catechesis.
STANDARD FOUR – Apostolic
A Parish catechist, “demonstrates apostolic skills needed for functioning effectively in ministry” (NDC 55E).
- Develops apostolic zeal
- Engages in apostolic activity that promotes evangelization, faith formation, building community
- Proclaims the truth of Jesus Christ boldly and enthusiastically, using all means of communication
- Is an agent of the new evangelization
- Devotes self to the missionary apostolate
- Follows all arch/diocesan safe environment guidelines and regulations
- Is in communion with the local and universal Church
- Uses appropriate methodological techniques for diverse audiences.
For more valuable insight, download the USCCB Statement Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry. This pastoral and theological affirmation serves as a synthesis of best thinking and practices, covering.
- Theological foundations for lay ecclesial ministry
- Discernment and suitability for lay ecclesial ministry
- Formation of lay ecclesial ministers
- Authorization of lay ecclesial ministers
- Policies and practices in the ministerial workplace