The courses listed below are required for diocesan teachers of religion to complete their certification process. They are also open to any adult who wishes to attend.

Introduction to Catholic Spirituality

The Adult Learner will be able to:

  • Define the core principles of Catholic Spirituality
  • Summarize the Catholic view of the sacramental system and how it is the lens through which the world is understood and viewed
  • Explain the theological understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity as a communion of Divine Person
  • Explain the importance and centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church
  • Identify various aspects of Marian theology
  • Explain the role of the baptized in the life of the Church and the world
  • Define the Church’s understanding of the universal call to holiness
  • Give examples of the call to holiness from the lives of the saints

Introduction to Scripture

The learner will be able to:

  • Define the concepts of revelation and inspiration as they apply to the Bible
  • Explain the formation of the Scriptures including authorship, oral and written tradition and formation of the canon of the Scriptures
  • Recognize some of the major types of literary forms found in the Bible, e.g., myths, legends, parables, proverbs, poems
  • Demonstrate the use of contemporary biblical commentaries, concordances and dictionaries
  • Identify appropriate uses of the Scriptures for personal and communal prayer and in the liturgy of the Church

Catechetical Process

The learner will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast significant historical developments in catechesis in order to understand contemporary catechetical approaches
  • Describe the primary tasks of contemporary catechesis as well as the role of the catechist
  • Describe the process of faith development, as growing out of an understanding of human development, and its implications for teaching religion
  • Formulate teaching approaches that respond to the needs of the students arising from the cultural and social realities that impinge upon them
  • Appreciate and incorporate the perspectives of different cultures into learning activities
  • Adapt lessons to the wide range of learning needs/abilities represented in the class
  • Write appropriate learning objectives around a given religious concept
  • Translate learning objectives into teaching strategies
  • Design and sequence learning activities into a lesson plan according to the movements of the catechetical process
  • Demonstrate an awareness of how to structure and manage the learning environment so that the desired objectives are attained

Basic Beliefs

Learner will be able to:

  • Identify faith as our response to God’s call to relationship and as the content of what we believe
  • Define the term creed and distinguish between the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed
  • Describe the process through which the Nicene Creed developed
  • Express a basic understanding of the following concepts: Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), Incarnation, Paschal Mystery, and Communion of Saints
  • Explain the meaning of the hierarchy of truths in Catholic doctrine
  • Define the following terms: faith, theology, Magisterium, tradition, doctrine, dogma
  • Explain the relevance of the creedal statements to Christian living
  • Describe the role of the catechist in passing on the Catholic Tradition

Old and New Testaments

The learner will be able to:

  • Describe the approach to historical biblical criticism taken by Catholic biblical scholars (See Divino Afflante Spiritu and Dei Verbum)
  • Identify the most significant geographical sites of the events of the Bible
  • Identify the principal divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures and the literary styles found in the various books of the Hebrew Scriptures
  • Outline the major narratives of the Hebrew Scriptures
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of each of the gospels
  • Explain some ways in which the early Christian community depicted in the Acts of the Apostles can serve as a model for the Church today
  • Describe the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church as found in the Acts of the Apostles
  • Give examples of the audiences for whom Paul wrote his epistles and also the issues which the epistles address
  • Explain the purpose of the Book of revelation
  • Demonstrate approaches for using Scripture in catechesis

Christian Morality

The learner will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the sources of morality, basic moral principles and theories of moral development
  • Explain how moral behavior has to do with appropriate response in and to love relationships in the human community
  • Demonstrate an understanding that morality is rooted in one’s spiritual life rather than in law
  • Explain the relationship of divine, natural, and positive law
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the connections between morality and the sacraments, especially Baptism, Reconciliation, and Eucharist
  • Explain how one’s moral principles and conviction’s give meaning to one’s actions
  • Describe the nature of a healthy conscience developed in freedom and grace and the role of the conscience in moral decision-making
  • Describe the contemporary nature of sin, its causes and effects
  • Explain the right, duty, and responsibility of the Church to exercise a teachings role in the world
  • Explain and interpret the theological and pastoral aspects of moral teachings and their application to specific situations
  • Identify current moral dilemmas and develop examples of responses in light of insights gained through the study of Christian morality


The learner will be able to:

  • Explain the principle of Sacramentality and summarize the sacramental theology of Vatican Council II
  • Define grace and explain the teaching of the Church regarding sacraments as sources of grace
  • Explain how human life experiences are expressed in symbol and ritual
  • Give an overview of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
  • Describe the role of the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation
  • Explain Eucharist as source and summit of Christian life
  • Explain the sacraments of healing as celebrations of God’s abiding care and concern
  • Explain the sacraments at the service of communion as rooted in our baptismal call
  • Trace the historical development of the sacraments

Church History

The learner will be able to:

  • Describe the development of the Church from a small Jewish community of believers to a Greco-Roman state religion under Theodosius
  • Identify some of the key people and events in the first 500 years of Christianity
  • Name some of the issues that led to the East-West Schism and its effect on the development of Christianity
  • Explain the influence of the Roman Empire and feudalism on the Church from Charlemagne through the 1300s
  • Summarize the impact of monasticism on the reform of clergy and the papacy
  • Describe some of the people, events, and ideas that led up to the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation
  • List some of the decisions reached during the Council of Trent and their impact on the life of the Church
  • Demonstrate how the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, French Revolution and other cultures affected the growth of the Church from the 17th century to the present
  • Explain how the Catholic Church developed in the United States and what affects the U.S. Church has had and is having on the Church universal
  • Reflect on the present state of the Catholic Church in light of the past and identify some challenges Catholicism faces in the future

Justice and Peace

The learner will be able to:

  • Distinguish between the concepts of charity and justice and explain the implications of each for the structures of society
  • Identify the basic principles of justice within our Catholic Tradition as found in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian Scriptures, and Church documents
  • Name the seven basic themes of Catholic Social Teaching and apply them to their own lives, communities, and societal structures. (See Sharing Catholic Social Teaching, USCCB)
  • Identify three major papal social encyclicals and their themes
  • Explain the economic principles found in the U.S. bishops’ pastoral Economic Justice for All
  • Identify and analyze situations in which their own and others’ human dignity has been violated and discuss how these examples connect with the larger themes of human dignity and justice
  • Explain the concept of global solidarity and link missionary activities with peace and justice education
  • Apply the pastoral circle (awareness, analysis, action, reflection) to a current peace or social justice issue

Liturgy and Rites

The learner will be able to:

  • Define the principle of Sacramentality which is foundational to Catholic liturgy
  • Summarize the historical development of our liturgical tradition
  • Describe the goals of the liturgical reforms mandated by the Second Vatican Council
  • Explain that liturgy expresses in word and action a dialogue between God and the worshipping assembly. (God speaks to us in the Liturgy of the Word and we respond in the Liturgy of the Eucharist by offering praise and thanks and sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ)
  • Name and explain the four presences of Christ in the liturgy: assembly, Word, Eucharist, and presiding minister
  • Explain the fundamental principles of preparing liturgy with children found in the Directory for Masses with Children
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the Paschal Mystery and its relationship to the liturgical year
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance and role of the Liturgy of the Hours in the Church’s life of prayer
  • Explain the role of symbol, music, art and environment in the liturgical experience

Jesus / Christology

The learner will be able to:

  • Distinguish among Christological methodologies (descending Christology, ascending Christology, low ascending Christology) and explain their impact on current Christological issues
  • Differentiate the four approaches to the historical person of Jesus as presented in the Gospels
  • Summarize Jesus’ teaching as revealed through his parables, discourses, miracles and relationships, especially as focused through Jesus’ understanding of the Kingdom of God
  • Appreciate the theological impact of the Paschal Mystery on the earliest believers as well as on believers today
  • Identify the relationship between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, especially as developed in the New Testament titles for Jesus
  • Name and explain the doctrines formulated by the early Christological Councils (Nicea 325), Constantinople I 381, Ephesus 431, and Chalcedon 451) and the contexts from which they developed
  • Name and explain the Christological doctrines expressed in the Nicene Creed and articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • Explain the significance of the doctrine of the Incarnation for our understanding of the mystery of the relationship between God and human beings
  • Explore the intersections between contemporary human issues and the Christ event and use these insights in a catechetical setting with appropriate awareness of the process of faith development

Church: Vision, Mission, Ministry

The learner will be able to:

  • Identify the major features of the Catholic understanding of the Church including the role of Mary
  • Explain how the Church continues Jesus’ mission of proclaiming the Reign of God
  • Explain the value of models as a way of understanding the many dimensions of the mystery of the Church
  • Describe Avery Dulles’ models of the Church and give examples of how they have been presented throughout the history of the Church
  • Identify some significant outcomes of Vatican Council II and its place in the history of the Church’s development
  • Identify the importance of considering human culture in bringing about the Reign of God
  • Explain how the structure of the Church has evolved since the time of Christ
  • List the criteria for a call to ministry rooted in Baptism
  • Explain the role of the laity in today’s Church and how this affects the role of the individual Catholic
  • Describe what makes a parish a dynamic expression of the Church’s mission. Give examples of the signs of a developing sense of community within a parish

Using Arts in Faith Formation

Using art, film, music, and literature, participants will discover ways to use the arts in faith formation, touching the soul, opening the mind, and drawing closer to the creative beauty of God.