California Catechist Certification

Basic Catechist Formation Course

The Basic Catechist Formation Course is a 48-hour course offered at different parish locations throughout the diocese. The course, which incorporates the six tasks of catechesis and uses various methodologies suggested in the Directory, is offered for all catechists—preschool through adult. It is designed to provide beginning parish or school catechists, or those needing renewal in catechetics, with a knowledge of the Catholic faith and Christian living as well as the skills and techniques which are necessary to hand on the faith, encourage a deeper relationship with Christ and promote discipleship and evangelization.

Upon successful completion of the course, which is in compliance with the Guidelines for Obtaining the California Catechist Certificate issued by the California Catholic Conference, catechists receive California Catechist Certification.

There are no academic pre-requisites for taking the Basic Catechist Formation Courses sponsored by the Diocese.

Goals of the Course

  • To develop or deepen a sense of vocation to serve as a catechist and to explore the qualities needed to respond to the call.
  • To develop basic knowledge, skills and abilities needed to communicate the Gospel message effectively.
  • To understand basic Catholic doctrine as defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • To understand and implement the tasks of catechesis as described in the NDC.
  • To experience Christian community through prayer, liturgical experiences, witnessing and group learning situations.
  • To encourage ongoing study, growth, conversion and renewal.
  • To stimulate an evangelizing spirit and enthusiastic discipleship.


The Basic Catechist Formation Course is taught by a team of qualified instructors called Master Catechists. All Master Catechists are approved by the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry and complete a diocesan training program.

Course Location/Costs

The Basic Catechist Formation Course is offered at various parish locations throughout the Diocese. The cost of the course is $75.00 and includes handouts, Catechism of the Catholic Church or the National Directory of Catechesis (if the student already has the CCC) and the use of resource materials. The current listing of courses can be found on our events page.

Diocesan Institute

The San Diego Diocesan Institute offers courses to provide foundational theology for persons interested in ministry. Most courses can be used toward obtaining diocesan ministry certificates and for renewal of catechist certification.

California Catechist Certification may be achieved through satisfactory completion of three fifteen-hour Diocesan Institute courses as follows:

  • C110 – Catechism of the Catholic Church;
  • S120 – Catechetics;
  • S100 – Faith Growth: Childhood and Early Adolescence, or
    S105 – Faith Growth: Adults

For further information and course descriptions regarding the San Diego Diocesan Institute Courses, please call the Institute Office at (858) 490-8212.

Waiving Course Requirements

Catechists who hold certification from another Diocese within the state of California or who have a strong background in Theology and Catechetics may have the requirement for course work waived by submitting a profile which is available from the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry. The Director will review the profile and issue certification, or advise the catechist of additional coursework needed for certification.