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Skip Navigation LinksADLA Administrative Handbook > Chapter 4 - Catholic Identity and Religious Ed > 4.2 - Religious Education in Parishes > 4.2.2 - Formation: Catechist, Master Catechist, and Parish Catechetical Leadership


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​​​Catechesis "needs to announce the essential mysteries of Christianity, promoting the Trinitarian experience of life in Christ as the center of the life of faith" (General Directory for Catechesis, 33).

4.2.2.1 Goals

There are four goals:

  • Develop the participant as a proclaimer of the message of Jesus Christ through his Church by developing the catechist's human, professional, spiritual, and apostolic qualities

  • Require all catechists to obtain archdiocesan catechetical certification

  • Enable participants to respond to the gift of God through prayer and participation in the sacraments, liturgy, ecclesial and social commitment, works of charity, and promotion of human values such as liberty and the protection of creation

  • Enable participants to demonstrate competency in handing on the faith in the following ways: expressing faith to others using the language of the faith tradition; leading people in prayer; understanding the basic concepts of the faith; and demonstrating awareness of the social, cultural, ethnic, demographic, and religious circumstances of the people who will be served so that the catechist can bring the Gospel message to them

4.2.2.2 Basic Ministry Formation

This section is designed as a guide and resource for parish coordinators of religious education and directors of religious education. It will also assist parish leadership as they select qualified leaders for their particular parish catechetical needs.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles provides formation in compliance with the guidelines of the bishops of the California Catholic Conference.

The formation course consists of the theological, specialization, and practicum phases.

Theological Phase

The theological phase of basic ministry formation and catechist certification in the archdiocese is extensive. It requires a time commitment of no fewer than 40 hours. The theological phase includes but is not limited to sessions covering:

  • God's Self Revelation

  • The Trinity

  • Christology

  • Ecclesiology

  • Liturgy

  • Sacramental Theology

  • Missionary Spirit

  • Moral Formation

  • Prayer and Spirituality

Specialization Phase

The specialization phase develops the foundational skills of a catechist. These include the practical areas of session planning, prayer experiences, methodology, the nature and purpose of catechesis, ​the use of media and technology, and other learning activities.

Practicum Phase

The practicum phase includes two written evaluations of the candidate by certified catechists in a catechetical setting and two written observations by the candidate of two other certified catechists. Once completed, the catechist is eligible to be certified by the archdiocesan Office of Religious Education. A final interview concludes the process. Before certification, one year of teaching experience is necessary.

4.2.2.3 Candidates for Catechist and Basic Ministry Formation

Please see Guidelines for Obtaining the California Catechist Certificate and the California Master Catechist Certificate (English version: See "Personal Qualities of a Catechist" on page 5; Spanish version: See "Cualidades personales del Catequista" on page 8).

4.2.2.4 Advanced Catechetical Ministry


Advanced Catechetical Ministries (ACM) is the formation program sponsored by the Archdiocese​​ of Los Angeles to prepare people for certification at the advanced level in accordance with the guidelines of the bishops of the California Catholic Conference.

ACM is comprised of three distinct phases that take place over a minimum of a three-year period.

Phase One – Theological Phase

  • The theological phase involves the study of scripture and the essentials of Catholic doctrine as a common basis for all those preparing for ministerial/catechetical leadership.

Phase Two – Catechetical Phase

  • The catechetical phase involves the study of catechesis, locating it within the context of evangelization, and helps to develop necessary skills for catechetical and ministerial leadership.

Phase Three – Practicum Phase

  • The practicum phase involves a supervised practicum related to a ministerial area.

In fulfillment of the guidelines established by the bishops of the California Catholic Conference, the themes covered in ACM include but are not limited to:

  • Theological Reflection

  • Images of God

  • Revelation

  • Christology

  • Ecclesiology

  • Sacraments

  • Morality

  • Social Mission of the Church

  • Spirituality of the Catechetical Leader

  • Catechesis and Evangelization

  • Faith Development

  • Liturgy

  • Christian Initiation and Catechumenate as Model for Catechesis

  • Formation Teams and Leadership

  • Adult Formation

  • Media and Catechesis

  • Safe Environment

  • Foundational Skills for the Master Catechist

Those preparing for leadership in ministry are expected to have a degree of competency that permits them to engage in formation at the advanced level. This competency is characterized by:

  • Study at the post-secondary level

  • Communication with adults

  • A basic catechist certification or the equivalent

  • A record of involvement in ministry in a Catholic elementary school, high school, and/or parish

  • Experience in catechetical, teaching, and/or liturgical ministry

  • Sensitivity to the cultural diversity of the people in the archdiocese

In addition to this basic competency, there are additional requirements for admission into the program pertaining to the respective fields of ministerial/catechetical leadership.

Adult Religious Educator

  • Basic adult specialization or its equivalent

  • Five years of experience in one or more of the following areas: catechesis, Christian initiation, or adult education

Parish Catechetical Leader (PCL)

  • Basic PCL Certificate or its equivalent

  • Five years of experience in catechetical ministry, no less than two of which were served as a coordinator/chairperson

Coordinator of Confirmation/Youth Ministry

  • Basic confirmation/youth ministry specialization or equivalent

  • Recent catechetical experience

Catholic High School Religion Teacher/Campus Minister

  • BA in theology or religious studies (MA recommended)

  • Current high school teaching experience

  • Completion of the two-year catechetical training program

  • Evidence of ongoing enrichment in the areas of theology and campus ministry

Master Catechist

  • Minimum of five years of catechetical experience at different levels

  • Evidence of ongoing enrichment in the areas of theology, catechesis, and education

  • Recent catechetical experience

4.2.2.5 Approval for Advanced Certification

Certification as an advanced-level catechist requires documentation of the successful completion of the program of formation and the final approval of the staff of the Office of Religious Education and Department of Catholic Schools​. ​


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