Catechist Formation and Certification

The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry views catechist formation at every level—preschool through adult—as one of its primary goals and provides programs of certification and renewal to meet that end.
In accord with the California Catholic Conference of Bishops and the policies for educational ministry in the Diocese of San Diego, every catechist should hold current catechist certification or be in the process of obtaining certification.

According to diocesan policy, catechists may be certified in one of three ways:

  1. By completing the Basic Catechist Formation Course (available online, hybrid and in-person);
  2. By completing the catechist certification courses through the San Diego Diocesan Institute;
  3. By completing the University of San Diego’s Hybrid Basic Catechist Course (available only for catholic school teachers);
  4. By completing those requirements identified by the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry through evaluation of an individual profile obtained from the Office.

Selection and Formation of Catechists

The Guidelines for obtaining the California Catechist Certificate or California Master Catechist Certificate state that it is the responsibility of pastors and catechetical leadership to:

  • Call forth and screen candidates and evaluate their potential to become faith-filled and dynamic catechists;
  • Require candidates to complete formation programs for catechist certification;
  • Select, orient, commission, supervise and annually evaluate catechists;
  • Provide catechists with opportunities for continued personal, spiritual and professional development.

Qualities of the Catechist

Prospective catechists should reflect the following qualities:

  • A strong awareness of God’s presence and a growing faith in response to that grace;
  • A personal commitment to Jesus Christ;
  • A strong sense of Church evidenced by the awareness of the importance of building Christian community, and commitment to teaching in the Roman Catholic tradition according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church;
  • A deepening prayer life, participation in liturgy and dedication to service;
  • A respect for individual growth and differences;
  • An openness to change and deep Christian conviction;
  • An ability to communicate effectively;
  • A willingness to continue one’s own formation.

All catechists should be “practicing Catholics who participate fully in the communal worship and life of the Church.”
(NDC, p. 228)