Letter from the Bishop on Catechist Certification

Dear Fellow Teacher of the Good News of Jesus Christ,

Peace be with you! Thank you for your ministry as a catechist in the Diocese of Belleville of Belleville. Your service as a catechist, informing, forming and transforming our young people in Christ, is a vital contribution to the Church whether in a Catholic school, Parish School of Religion, or other catechetical program. As you know, your vocation as a catechist is to collaborate with the Holy Spirit and help the next generation of Catholics to grasp the profound meaning that our faith gives to our journey from God to God.

The catechist forms the young Christian by creating an environment of spiritual awareness that flows from his or her own interior life.  Thus, before teachers even enter the classroom, their personal prayer, their casual encounter with a fourth grader on the playground, the way in which they relate to their fellow teachers, the manner in which they discipline an unruly youngster, all of these lay a foundation.  Their attitude of trust and respect, their recognition of the dignity and worth of each person will help to establish the rapport that will be necessary if they are to do more than teach them about faith.  If teachers are to help students to experience faith and to know the implications of that faith in their daily lives, the students must actually be able to participate in the teacher’s living faith.  Within this divine milieu the lay catechist, priest or religious forms the youthful Christian in the faith that comes to us from the Apostles.

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History of Catechist Certification

From the beginning of the Church catechists have received information on the faith, formation on the Christian life, and opportunities for transformation in Christ.   The concept of a formal process of certification is a recent development.  From the beginning of the Church in North America to the Second Vatican Council most dioceses in the United States relied upon informal catechetical training.  As the number of Religious Sisters increased, their communities provided faith formation which often included training as catechists.  Following Vatican Council II, a variety of lay movements arose which addressed the call for an increase in the active vocation of the laity. 

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Diocesan Pastoral Center
2620 Lebanon Avenue, Building 6
Belleville, IL 62221
Fax: 618-235-7115

Superintendent of Schools/Director of Education

Mr. Jonathan Birdsong

Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry

Mr. Jaime Gil

Associate Director of Education

Mr. David Timmermann

Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Mary Fournie

Administrative Assistant

Ms. Jennifer Markfort


Elective Opportunities