Catechist Certification

The main goal of catechist certification is to enable parish and school catechetical leaders to form catechists in an authentic manner so that together we may serve Christ and His Church in proclaiming the Gospel to all.

JUMP TO: Basic Certification | Ongoing Formation | Course Records

Certification Guidelines

The following is the 2006 revision of the Catechist Certification Guidelines for the Diocese of Savannah. These guidelines became effective August 1, 2006.

Religious educators (catechists) in parish programs and Catholic schools are expected to work toward certification.

All those involved in the administration of religious instruction are called to insure that the people who are designated to teach about our faith are well prepared. Programs of formation should be designed to help them acquire the knowledge and skills they need to hand on the faith to those entrusted to their care and assist them in living as disciples in Christ. NDC no.55. This document is meant to enable catechists to be prepared in a reasonable length of time.

All adults serving as catechists to children and youth must have a criminal background check and attend a Protecting God’s Children program in accordance with Diocesan Policy and the Code of Conduct (Chapters 6.5.2, 3. and 4) before entering the classroom. The program currently being used is VIRTUS.

Certification Requirements

Basic Certification

Basic level certification is required by all who catechize or teach in Catholic schools and parish programs. Those who began Basic level certification under the 1996 revision must complete that certification including courses on The Creed and Mary and the Saints by January 2008.* Basic level certification should be completed within a three year period. The courses listed in this document are meant to be covered as the description dictates with classes being two hours in length or more.

Echoes of Faith Plus published by Resources for Christian Living (RCL Benziger) and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL) may be used in its entirety to complete Basic Certification. This means completing the three Catechetical Components, the five Theology Components and two of the Methodology Components (Intro to the Learner and the age appropriate Methods).

Basic certification may be achieved by completing the Echoes of Faith catechist formation program in its entirety. This includes:

…the three catechist modules:

  • Getting Started as a Catechist,
  • Roles of a Catechist, and
  • The Person of the Catechist;


…the five theology modules:

  • I Believe/We Believe (Creed),
  • Liturgy and Sacraments, Catholic Morality, Prayer and Spirituality, and
  • Introduction to the Scriptures;


…and two of the methodology modules:

  • Introduction to the Learner and
  • the appropriate grade level methods.


Echoes of Faith Plus is published by Resources for Christian Living and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. Using a combination of facilitated group discussions, workbooks, and videos, Echoes of Faith offers a well-rounded formation experience. The program is available in Spanish and English.

It is pertinent to the formation experience that all aspects of each module be completed (discussion, workbooks, videos, etc.).

DVDs may be borrowed from the Diocesan Library. Workbooks should be purchased for each catechist for each session. To order workbooks, call our RCL Benziger Representative Tom Macowski at 561-707-8190. You can also order online by visiting the RCL Benziger website.

To learn more on how to use Echoes of Faith Plus, to review modules, and to preview videos and program materials, please visit the Echoes of Faith Web site.

Ongoing Formation

Faith formation is a life long process. The next two levels of certification are called Ongoing Formation I and Ongoing Formation II. Catechists are encouraged to complete the training modules in Ongoing Formation I before moving to Ongoing Formation II. Each level should be completed within 5 years. At the completion of these levels, certificates will be issued. Thereafter, upon completion of each additional 12 hours of formation, certificates will be issued. At the completion of Ongoing Formation II, a minimum of one course per year is required to maintain certification. Course instructors should have the appropriate credentials to teach the coursework as described in this certification handbook. When in question regarding credentials, the Diocesan Director of Faith Formation should be consulted for approval.


  • Christology – Nature and personality of Jesus; life and teachings of Jesus; divine and human natures.
  • Ecclesiology - Church as: institution, communion, sacrament, herald, servant, disciple; Marks of the Church: one, holy, catholic, apostolic.
  • The Role and Authority of the Church Magisterium – From where does authority come?; infallibility, tradition, apostolicity; importance in our Church today.
  • Catechetical Documents – To include but not limited to overviews of: General Directory for Catechesis (1997/98), National Directory for Catechesis (2005), Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catechesis Tradendae, Vatican II Documents. The Epistles – How they show development and understanding of early Church; content and message; Pauline letters.
  • The Synoptics – What is Gospel; synoptic problem; authorship; literary forms; structures, themes, and content of each; Jesus; person, message and mission.
  • The Gospel of John – Difference from the Synoptics; authorship literary form; structure; theme; content; Jesus; person, message and mission.
  • Acts of the Apostles – Purpose of and relationship to Luke’s Gospel; development of community in Acts; historical development and theological grounding of early Church.
  • Stewardship – The biblical roots of stewardship and all of its facets. A look at the U.S. Bishops’ pastoral letter on stewardship: Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, including the themes of discipleship, stewardship of creation, vocation, and the Church and the obstacles of stewardship.
  • Gift of Sexuality – A look at Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and understanding sexuality as gift.
  • Social Justice Documents - an overview of important documents: Rerum Novarum, Economic Justice for All, The Challenge of Peace, On Human Work, The Gospel of Life.
  • The Sanctity of Life – The church’s teaching and understanding of life as sacred, issues to include: contraception, abortion, death penalty and end of life issues.


  • Moral and Faith Development – Stages and development (Erikson, Piaget, Kohlberg, Fowler); implications of stages for catechesis; conscience formation. How to build self esteem and the importance for faith development and catechetical learning.
  • History of the Church – Overview of Church history from beginnings to modern times including schisms, the Reformation and major councils.
  • Catechesis: A Ministry of the Church – Baptismal call; proclaiming and teaching God’s Work; celebrating the Sacred Mysteries; serving the people of God. Role and importance of the family in catechesis; family prayer; family rituals and traditions (i.e., during Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, harvest time, etc.).
  • The Pentateuch – Part 1/Part 2 Literary forms; Jahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist, Priestly traditions; Abraham; Exodus event; theology of Genesis 1-12; meaning of law; Judaic Torah.
  • Prophets and Kings of the Old Testament – Definition of prophet and king; significant contributions of prophets and kings; include prophets: Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah and kings: Saul, David, Solomon, etc.
  • Wisdom Literature of the Bible – How it expresses collected knowledge of people living out covenant in exile; as cultural folk literature with significant meaning for life. Apocrophyal books.
  • The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) – A look at the basics of RCIA and its five major movements: Pre-catechumenate, Catechumenate, Scrutinies, Initiation and Mystagogy; Who is this for?: the difference between the unbaptized and those previously baptized in another faith tradition; Children of catechetical age and how they participate.
  • Multicultural Catechesis – A look at cultural differences and traditions; incorporating cultural traditions into the classroom
  • Ecumenism – Understanding various faiths, stress similarities and note differences; promotion of restoration of unity among Christians.
  • Traditions, Customs, and Precepts of the Church – rediscover the laws of the Church and the rich customs and traditions to include sacramentals, seasonal customs and traditions, special prayers like the Rosary.
  • Trinity – A look at the early formation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the development of Trinitarian theology.
  • Apocalyptic Books of the Bible and the Book of Revelation - why these writings came to be; definition and understanding of apocalyptic literature; relevance of message.

Course Records

All participants are expected to be present for the entire class period. The onsite coordinator is responsible for sending the yellow copy of the Course Triplicate Form (CTF) to the Diocesan Office of Faith Formation. The white copy of the CTF goes to the participant and the pink copy to the parish or school coordinator handling records. The pink copy should be placed in the catechist/teacher’s personnel file. When a catechist/teacher has completed coursework for a particular level, it is the parish/school’s responsibility to notify the Diocesan Office of Faith Formation. After verification through records, a certificate will be issued in a timely manner.

Please use the Catechist Course Tracker form (below) to keep track of which courses you have taken.  Please print on just one sheet of paper! If you need any assistance, please contact us in the office. 

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