Prayer and Worship Office
Catechist / YM / Catholic School Teacher Formation & Certification - Structure

Formation & Certification

The purpose of the Albany Diocese’s catechist and youth minister certification process is to assist catechists (be they working with children, adults or in intergenerational programs), youth ministers and Catholic school religion teachers to faithfully and effectively pass on the Good News of the Gospels to others. Built upon principles found in the General Directory for Catechesis, The Catechist in the Third Millennium and the National Directory for Catechesis among other documents (see general background and rationale for our program), our formation and certification process is meant to provide the initial and continued faith and methodological development of all catechists and youth ministers.

It is an expectation that every catechist (of children, of adults or in intergenerational programs, youth minister and Catholic school religion teacher) in the Albany Diocese either be certified or be in the process of actively pursuing such certification. Catechist formation is to provide the initial and continued faith development of all catechists. It is only part of the total process of formation for all adult Catholics. As noted in the National Directory for Catechesis, “since effective catechesis depends on virtuous and skilled catechists, their ongoing formation should enhance the human, spiritual and apostolic qualities and catechetical skills they bring to their ministry. The pastoral care of catechists is an essential aspect of the diocese’s overall catechetical plan. Diocesan pastoral programs must give absolute priority to the formation of lay catechists” (p. 238).

Certification Tracks or Specialties

With the Fall, 2010 update to our formation and certification guidelines, there are now five separate certification tracks or specializations:

If you click on the track title above, you will be able to access that track/specialization’s certification transcript which includes a listing of all required certification topics for that track, by certification level.

While many courses or topics are applicable to multiple tracks, other topics are specific to a particular track or specialization. Intergenerational Catechists will typically be able to choose from among the specialized courses for either catechists working with children, youth ministers and catechists of adults, although they should include a mixture from all three of those tracks. Catholic School religion teachers sometimes have to choose a course that is either for teachers working with lower or upper grades, based on the grade level they primarily work with.

Certification Levels & Topics

There are now five levels of catechist and youth ministry certification in the Albany Diocese:

If you click on a certification level’s title, above, you can view its specific topics and requirements. For a two page overview of what comprises each certification levels’ topics, click here. Courses for basic and Intermediate Certification are typically two hours in length; some of the Advanced Certification topics (those dealing with Theology and Scripture) may consist of four two hour sessions, totaling eight hours for each topic. While the three methodological topics of basic certification are specific to the age level the minister is working with, be it as a catechist of children (usually up to Grade 6), a youth minister (generally Grades 7 and up), or adult catechist, most of our intermediate and advanced courses are applicable towards most, if not all of the certification tracks.

Courses counting towards basic and intermediate catechist, youth minister and Catholic school teacher certification should include as their objectives a “faith dimension”, and a “knowledge/understanding” component, as well as how this could be applied in a catechetical or youth ministry setting. The formal course/topic descriptions and objectives for basic and intermediate courses/topics as well as required advanced certification courses are based on guidelines that are contained in “Appendix A” of our Guidelines and Policies on the Formation & Certification of Catechists, Youth Ministers & Catholic School Teachers. To view detailed information on the topics that comprise each certification level, simply click on the certification level’s name, above, and then on the topic’s name.

Diocesan Guidelines and Policies

The Diocese’s 2010 Guidelines and Policies for Formation and Certification of Catechists, Youth Ministers and Catholic School religion teachers provides background as to the rationale for catechist formation and certification along with details on the structure of our diocese’s certification program and process. It’s “Appendix A” contains certification topic descriptions, goals/objectives, competency criteria, options for fulfilling a topic’s requirements and resources for independent/further study for all required topics. The current contents of Appendix A for each topic is available for viewing by clicking on the topic title on the grids for provisional/basic certification topics, all intermediate certification topics and the advanced certification topics.


Certification of Catechetical & Youth Ministry Leaders

While those engaged in the ministry of catechetical leadership are expected to pursue both basic and ongoing formation and certification as a catechist, youth minister or Catholic school religion teacher, they are also encouraged to take part in “Becoming a Minister of Faith Formation”, commonly referred to as “BAMOFF”, which is our diocese’s multi-session program of orientation for pastoral associates for faith formation and youth ministry. BAMOFF is especially designed to familiarize beginning parish faith formation / catechetical / youth ministry leaders with the vision, policies and procedures particular to this ministry’s leadership. It is one component in the process of becoming certified as a Catechetical or Youth Ministry Leader in the Diocese of Albany. New catechetical/youth ministry leaders should refer to the BAMOFF page on the diocesan website. Other resources and requirements applicable for leadership development and certification may be found on our Catechetical & Youth Ministry Leadership Page.