Catechetical Formation

We are grateful to all our catechists and want to offer them support, resources, and formation. To make sure the young people and adults in our communities are served by those who are well-formed, all those who serve their parishes as catechists are required to enter into ongoing formation.

Required Formation

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What is a Catechist?

What are the prerequisites?

What are the formation requirements?

What is included in online formation?

More information about Catechetical Formation

A Catechist is a person of faith who leads others in understanding the faith teachings according to the official teachings of the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church. To learn more about the goals and offerings of a catechist, please click the button below.

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To serve as a catechist, one only needs to have a passion to share their faith and appropriate formation. This formation begins with meeting the Virtus requirements for the Diocese of Bridgeport. 

 

Given this crazy world in which we find ourselves these days, we have streamlined formation so that it can all be done online and in the comfort of your own home.

See how to get started.

 

Online formation includes a series of modules. 

  • One module is an opening prayer.
  • Another two modules introduce you to the various generations you will encounter as a catechist and how each is unique and gifted in their own right.
  • One module asks you to take an inventory. This will help us gauge the need for future formation.
  • The final module discusses the intersection of catechesis and evangelization.
  • Your assignment, which completes your initial formation, is to write a letter to your pastor or director/coordinator of faith formation and reflect upon what you have learned and what you hope to bring to your experience as a catechist.

More information is available online.

Check out our FAQ page for general questions and information about Catechetical Formation.

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What is a Catechist?

The Catechist is a person of faith who leads others in understanding the faith teachings according to the official teachings of the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The role of the catechist is a vital ministry to the Church. It is a gift that has tremendous value to the world community at large because through the catechist’s word and action, the message of Christ continues to have a place in all human affairs.

The primary goal of a catechist is to model God’s love to others. As a result, the primary requisite of a catechist is a love for God and a love for children. A catechist develops a lesson plan and uses that plan to teach in the classroom. By creating the lesson plan the catechist ultimately designs and structures experiences for students that help them grow in their personal faith and spirituality. The catechist passes on to students a set of shared meanings and values that are Catholic and Christian. A catechist also initiates others into the faith community, into its life, its worship, symbols and practices.

Formation is now completely online. For those without consistent computer access, an offline workbook is available. Please email institute@diobpt.org or call 203-416-1657 to make a request.

Those required to participate in formation include:

  • Catechists in parish school of religious education
  • Volunteers in Vacation Bible Camps or other pre-school programs
  • RCIA team members
  • Pre-Cana team members/sponsor couples
  • Pre and Post Baptism team members
  • Adult education team members

Formation Requirements

Step One: Affirmation by the parish

If you already serve as a catechist, we can safely assume you have met the Virtus requirements, but it might be helpful to make sure. If you are new, please complete the Virtus requirements and make sure your parish Virtus coordinator has marked you as a catechist in the Virtus database.

Step Two: Online Formation

All future face-to-face formation is suspended in the light of the pandemic. Please click the link below to begin your formation process.

Deadline for completion: Ongoing

The initial formation for all current catechists must be complete within the first year of serving as a catechist. You may not begin year two of service without completing your initial formation.

Ongoing Formation

All catechists will be required to participate in ongoing formation. This will likely take place online in the form or a module or two that is chosen by the catechist according to his/her own interest. The idea is not to penalize those who graciously volunteer their time, rather to give them an opportunity to grow in the faith they seek so earnestly to pass on to others.

Face-to-face Formation Sessions

God has chosen you, my friends, as he has chosen me, to be his hands and feet and voice in the world to pass on the Good News, which is at the heart of catechesis. Always remember, if Christ has called us to this, Christ will give us the means by which we can do it effectively.
—  Bishop Frank Caggiano

General FAQ

I’ve been teaching for a long time, why do I need formation?

Every good teacher is committed to life-long learning. The commitment to catechetical formation is not meant to be overwhelming. Rather, it is an opportunity to learn more about the call you have received to teach others the faith.

Are the requirements the same for Catholic school teachers?

Yes. Though the Catholic school teachers will host their own face-to-face session initially (held in fall 2019), the formation process is essentially the same.

If I do not participate, will I be fired as a catechist?

Let’s ask the question another way: don’t the young people you serve deserve the very best? Do they not deserve someone who is well-formed and well-prepared?

If I am a liturgical minister (reader, musicians, EMHC) and participated in formation for one of those ministries, do I still have to participate in this formation?

Yes. This formation is completely different and structured to help you become more effective in your ministry.

How do I begin online formation?

Use the link below to log onto LEAD and begin. If you think you are already enrolled, ask the system to send you a new password.

How will my parish know that I have completed everything?

Parish leaders can contact the Institute at any time to ask which catechists have completed formation.

I heard something about letters of recommendation. Are those necessary?

Letters of recommendation are only required for those who wish to begin serving as a reader or EMHC in their parish or school. They are not required for catechists.

I attended a face-to-face formation session for catechists. Isn't that enough?

Nope. When the process started (pre-pandemic), there were two requirements: face-to-face formation and online. Now we've built the online to handle both. If you attended a face-to-face session, scroll down to create an account in LEAD and get started.

I already have an account in LEAD (as a Reader, EMHC, etc.)

Great. Then just scroll down and click the link to enter LEAD. Once you are in the system, you can choose as many learning paths as you wish.

When you are ready to register for LEAD and get started, click below.

Note: If you previously were invited to join online formation and did not accept the invitation, you may already have an account. To check, click "forgot my password" in LEAD and check.

If you already have an account a reset link will be sent. If you do not have an account, you can set up a new one and choose your learning path.

Begin Formation/Enter LEAD