Catechist Formation and Resources for Catholic Schools

Another name for Teacher is Catechist. The Directory of Catechesis describes a Catechist as a witness of faith and keeper of the memory of God, a teacher and a mystagogue, and an accompanier and educator.

We are grateful that you have responded to God’s invitation to share your faith in an intentional way with the young people and families in your school. The Catechetical Office of the Archdiocese of Newark is here to support you in your ministry. One of the ways in which we do this is through the various formation opportunities that we offer throughout the year.


Formation Process Overview

Why: Vocation of the Catechist

How: Methodology

What: Doctrinal

Ongoing Formation


We are always growing in faith and skills. As catechists, we have an obligation to provide the best catechesis to the young people and families entrusted to our care. Therefore, once initial formation has been completed catechists and teachers should attend at least one event or course for continuing formation each year.

Ongoing formation for catechists helps them:

  • Harmonize the human, spiritual, doctrinal, and pastoral dimensions of their apostolate.
  • Keep abreast of the life of the Church – its needs, new documents, as well as changing social, cultural, ethnic, and religious circumstances.
  • Overcome discouragement and burnout.

~ National Directory for Catechesis, 55

E-Learn offers a number of Ongoing Formation courses, which can be accessed here. Also, check out our calendar for other events offered by the Catechetical Office. 



Spotlight – Morality: 
 Unfolds the fullness of God’s law revealed through Christ. Founded in God’s roadmap for happiness, this Pillar covers the elements of moral decision-making. 
Spotlight – Faith: 
Takes the learner on a journey from the beginning of God’s loving creation of mankind to the Church’s divine understandings of the End Times. 
Spotlight – Liturgy & Sacraments: 
This course offers an overview of the Seven Sacraments as rooted in salvation history and the coming of Christ.
Spotlight – Prayer and Spirituality:
Prayer and Spirituality is friendship with God, and this Pillar navigates us through the joys and difficulties of the spiritual life. 
Spotlight Scripture (Old & New Testament):  
This series on Sacred Scripture will give you an overview and introduction to this intriguing book; a book that has not only changed the world but is also given a divine role to play in each of our lives. 

“This synthesis of faith should be such as to help the catechist to mature in his own faith and enable him/her to offer an explanation for the present hope in this time of mission.”
 ~ General Directory for Catechesis, 241


How: Methodology

In order to be an effective catechist, one must know how to communicate the Gospel to the young people, adults and families that have been entrusted to our care.  This demands that catechists have an understanding of the factors that impact effective transmission of the message.  “Metholology” courses are aimed at equipping catechists with the skills and techniques necessary for the mission. 

Related Course: Methodology for Catechists
This course will help catechists: 

  • To successfully reach the young people they serve.
  • To learn how to teach as Jesus taught.
  • To explore how children learn and develop spiritually.
  • To learn about generational cohorts Generation Z and Generation Alpha and explore creative strategies to reach these generations.
  • To develop engaging plans for catechetical sessions 
  • To expand their use of media and digital tools in order to adapt to an ever-changing catechetical landscape.
  • To adapt of these methods in order to meet the needs of different kinds of learners.

“The catechist will be able not only to communicate the Gospel accurately, but also able to make those being  taught capable of receiving it actively…” 
~ General Directory for Catechesis, 112

“Catechists do not merely instruct their students about Christ;
they lead them to him.” 
~ National Directory for Catechesis, 241


This is the first dimension of catechist formation. Being a catechist is a vocation. While catechists can begin their formation by taking any course outlined in the process, it is recommended that catechists begin with the “The Vocation of the Catechist”. 

Related Course: “Vocation of the Catechist”
This course will help catechists:

  • Explore their call to serve in catechetical ministry.
  • Learn more about what catechesis is and consider their vocation as a catechist.
  • Learn to see themselves not just as a “teacher” of the faith, but also as a missionary disciple who gives witness to their faith and relationship with Jesus in word and deed.
  • How to create an environment where young people and families can encounter the Lord
  • How to lead others effectively to prayer
  • How to creatively engage our young people in ways that are also adaptable in virtual learning environments. There will also be time for personal prayer and reflection.

“To “be” catechists! Not to “work” as catechists. Catechesis is a vocation: “Being a catechist”, is the vocation. Not “working” as a catechist.” 
~ Pope Francis, Congress on Catechesis.

  • The catechist formation process is broken up into three inter-connected dimensions that focus on Why, How, and What a catechist witnesses.
  • Initial Certifications Courses:
    • Vocation of the Catechist 
    • Methodology for Parishes 
    • Spotlight: Morality 
    • Spotlight: Faith 
    • Spotlight: Liturgy & Sacraments 
    • Spotlight: Prayer and Spirituality 
    • Spotlight: Scripture (Old & New Testament) 
  • All of our courses are hosted on our online formation platform E-Learn. The platform provides both virtual and in-person formation opportunities and will automatically track your progress towards certification completion.
  • Courses may be taken in any order; however, we highly recommend starting with Vocation of the Catechist or Catechesis 101.
  • If you attend a course in a separate track or at a local parish that is not offered through E-Learn, log in to submit your completed certificate.

Courses and RCAN Online

Currently, the formation process for teachers in catholic elementary schools is the same as for parish catechists. In addition to the courses available for parish catechists, there is a unique methodology course for school which can be found on RCAN Online. ​

Note: Although you can begin with any course, it is recommended that you begin with the “Vocation of the Catechist”.



What is Catechist Formation?

Formation is a process by which we grow in the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective catechists.

Why do I need catechist formation?

Catechist formation is necessary because we desire to serve the young people entrusted to our care to the best of our ability. Investing in this process equips you for the mission and will help you grow in your own relationship with God.

What are the Catechist Formation requirements for the Archdiocese of Newark?

Catechists in the Archdiocese of Newark are expected to seek BASIC Catechist Certification and ongoing formation. There are three areas of certification that must be completed in order to achieve Basic Certification: 1) Vocation of the Catechist, 2) Methodology and 3) Doctrinal When all three areas of formation (Vocation, Methodology and Doctrinal) are completed, the catechist has completed this initial formation process. (Click here for a detailed explanation and course offerings in each area.)

Where and how are the courses offered?

All of our courses are hosted on our online formation platform E-LearnAccess our online learning site for a list of live workshop dates and registration. The platform provides both virtual and in-person formation opportunities and will automatically track your progress towards certification completion.

How do I begin the process?

Catechists are encouraged to begin with the “Vocation of the Catechist” course. However, in order to help you achieve your basic certification in the most efficient way possible, you may take courses in any order as your personal schedule permits.

How long will take me to complete the process?

Everyone works at his/her own pace. Catechists should aim to have taken the “Vocation of the Catechist” and “Methodology” within the first two years of their ministry as a catechist/teacher. On average, Initial Certification can take between and 4 years to complete.

Once I take a course, do I have to continue taking the courses in the same way?

Courses from any track may be used to fulfill requirements. You can mix and match the type of courses that you take according to your personal preferences and the your availability. (e.g. You may take the a live course for the “Vocation of the Catechist” and then take courses for other areas online.)

How do I keep track of my progress? How do I get the certificates?

Certificates are distributed and track on RCAN Online. You can track your progress by logging in here and clicking the certification arrow to the left of your screen. 

What happens after I am finished?

We are always growing in faith and skills. As catechists, we have an obligation to provide the best catechesis the young people and families entrusted to our care. Therefore, once initial formation catechists should take at minimum of 3 hours of continuing formation. CLICK HERE to see the many different continuing formation opportunities offered by the Archdiocese of Newark (e.g. Catechist Convocation, Bible/Men’s/Women’s conferences, online course work, etc.) Contact your parish catechetical leader or DRE for opportunities at your local parish.


Gina Butler

Associate Director
Catechist Formation and Catechesis
in Catholic Schools