Parish Catechetical Leader

The Parish Catechetical Leader

The responsibilities for a Parish Catechetical Leader will vary by parish. In general, the position can include the following goals:

  • To assess, evaluate and clarify the parish religious educational and catechetical needs in accord with its mission
  • To formulate specific religious educational and catechetical objectives and priorities for the parish
  • To strengthen existing programs and initiate new programs to meet the parish objectives and priorities
  • To design catechetical programs
  • To assist in liturgical programs
  • To conduct sacramental preparation workshops
  • To recruit, form, train, assign and evaluate needed personnel
  • To budget funds and materials for religious educational and catechetical programs

Parish catechetical leaders are also expected to engage in continuing education in catechesis.

The National Directory for Catechesis provides the following position responsibilities for parish catechetical leader (54.B.5):

The single most critical factor in an effective parish catechetical program is the leadership of a professionally trained parish catechetical leader. Ordinarily, under the direction of the pastor, the main responsibilities of this position are as follows:

  • Overall director of the parish catechetical program for adults, youth, and children
  • Planning, implementation, and evaluation of the parish catechetical program
  • Recruitment, formation, ongoing development, and evaluation of catechists
  • Implementation of diocesan and parish catechetical policies and guidelines, including the areas of catechist certification and supervision and administrative policies related to negligence, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and the safety and protection of minors
  • Collaboration with the pastor, other parish ministers, and appropriate committees, boards, and councils
  • Assistance in liturgical planning
  • Attention to their own personal, spiritual, and professional development

Handbook for Parish Catechetical Leaders

An updated handbook for parish catechetical leaders is being developed. Details will be published here when this resource becomes available.

Leadership Tasks in Catechesis

Parish catechetical leaders are tasked with implementing a truly comprehensive approach to the catechetical efforts of the Church. This comprehensive approach involves six fundamental tasks and a wide variety of settings.

[C]atechesis comprises six fundamental tasks, each of which is related to an aspect of faith in Christ. All efforts in evangelization and catechesis should incorporate these tasks. Catechesis…

  1. Promotes knowledge of the faith
  2. Promotes a knowledge of the meaning of the Liturgy and the sacraments
  3. Promotes moral formation in Jesus Christ
  4. Teaches to Christian how to pray with Christ
  5. Prepares the Christian to live in community and to participate actively in the life and mission of the Church
  6. Promotes a missionary spirit that prepares the faithful to be present as Christians in society

(National Directory for Catechesis 20)

The Directory for Catechesis also outlines a variety of settings in which catechesis should be considered (see Chapter 8: Catechesis in the Lives of Persons). These settings include:

  • Catechesis and the Family (DC 226-235)
  • Catechesis with Children and Teenagers (DC 236-243) – NOTE, this section goes to age 10, does not include teenagers.
  • Catechesis in the Realm of Young People (DC 244-256)
  • Catechesis with Adults (DC 257-265)
  • Catechesis with the Elderly (DC 266-268)
  • Catechesis with Persons with Disabilities (DC 269-272)
  • Catechesis with Migrants (DC 273-276)
  • Catechesis with Emigrants (DC 277-278)
  • Catechesis with Marginal Persons (DC 279-282)

By listing these settings identified in the Directory for Catechesis, it is not an expectation that all these settings be addressed. The purpose of listing these settings is to illustrate the need to fully explore the needs in the local parish. Catechesis should not be solely focused on preparation for the reception of Sacraments. There are many other contexts in which discipleship is expressed in parish life and formation to meet these needs should be included in the parish’s catechetical plan.

“The age and the intellectual development of Christians, their degree of ecclesial and spiritual maturity and many other personal circumstances demand that catechesis should adopt widely differing methods for the attainment of its specific aim: education in the faith” (Catechesi Tradendae 51).

Community of Religious Educators (CORE)

What is CORE?

CORE stands for Community of Religious Educators and is a regular gathering of religious educators for ongoing professional development, insights into diocesan initiatives and for networking with one another.

Next CORE Meeting:

January 26, 2023 ~ CHANGE OF DATE!

A change of date has been made for the January CORE meeting so we can meet Fr. Ambrose Criste, O. Praem. at the Evermode Institute. More details to come!

Upcoming CORE Meetings:

  • March 16, 2023
  • May 18, 2023

Other Updates:

If you can't make it to CORE meeting, please sign up for regular email updates from the Office for Catechesis:

Recognition of Catechists

Catechetical Sunday

Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Celebrated on the third Sunday in September every year, Catechetical Sunday is also a chance for those who serve the parish community as catechists to be called forth and commissioned for their ministry.

Years of Service Recognition

At the end of each academic year, I would like to have catechists who have reached landmark years of experience recognized with a special certificate from our bishop. Please use the form below to identify catechists and parish catechetical leaders (e.g. director/coordinator of religious education, lifelong faith formation, etc.) who have completed 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 etc. years of total years of service in the ministry of catechesis in the academic year.

In addition to years of service, if there is a catechist who is retiring, a special recognition certificate is available. Please indicate "Retiring" in addition to the total number of years of service regardless of the 5-year anniversary.

Catechists include PSR teachers, Catholic school faculty who teach religion/theology, adult faith formation leaders (including RCIA), youth ministers, anyone who serves the parish through faith formation initiatives. If a catechist or parish catechetical leader has served in other parishes, whether in this diocese or outside our diocese, those years of experience may be included.

Please print the catechists’ names on the enclosed form and indicate which landmark year (multiples of 5 only) for which these persons are being recognized. Add additional sheets if necessary. Completed forms are due April 15.

Certificates for each catechist will be sent to parish catechetical leaders in late spring so they can include them as part of your end-of-year appreciation ceremonies. If you have any questions, call Kyle Holtgrave at (217) 698-8500, x. 154 or email

Thank you for all you do to build the kingdom of God!

In Christ,
Kyle Holtgrave
Director for Catechesis

Catechist Recognition Form

Religion Curriculum Standards

Bishop Paprocki has promulgated curriculum standards for PreK-8th Grade. These standards are designed to provide leaders for parish-based formation programs such PSR and Catholic schools a framework for what topics students should be catechized in year to year.

Grade School Standards

The religion standards for grade school students are articulated by grade and are divided into nine strands with one or more benchmarks for each strand. The strands include Sacred Scripture, Creed, Sacraments, Liturgy, Morality, Prayer and Spirituality, Ecclesiology, Parish Life and Mission, and Vocation.


High School Standards

Religion standards for high school curriculums are found in the USCCB's 2008 High School Curriculum Framework and its adaptation for parish-based programs.

Publisher Correlations to Diocesan Standards

Online Formation Programs

This section lists online options that are available for catechesis at home.

Other Formation Resources:

Catechetical Policies

This page is dedicated to posting policies and procedures relevant to the mission of catechesis in the diocese. Updates will be announced via this office’s e-Newsletter. To be added to the e-Newsletter distribution list, please contact Office for Catholic Education at A handbook summarizing all diocesan policies related to faith formation is being created and will be posted in the Parish Catechetical Leader tab on this page.

Religious Education Assessment

Schools and Parish Schools of Religion are asked to annually assess students. Details are posted on the Religion Assessment tab.

Home Catechesis

Since parents have the primary responsibility and the right to select those means through which they can provide more suitably for the Christian education of their children in accordance with the teachings of the Church, the Church community shall fulfill its responsibility to parents in their catechetical role by providing programs, resources and support.

- Bk3§1701.3

Parents may choose to provide formal systematic catechesis for their children at home, apart from existing parish programs, but consistent with applicable diocesan policies for catechesis from Book III: The Teaching Office of the Church, Policies and Procedures for Religious Education.

The following process for establishing a home catechesis program is promulgated in Bk3§1701.3:

  • Parents, their pastor and/or his designated catechetical leader meet to discuss mutual responsibilities and expectations for the catechesis, producing a written covenant between the pastor, parents and the child(ren).
  • The pastor and/or his designated catechetical leader provides parameters for the selection of textbooks and other materials, ensuring that the text is listed on the approved list of curriculum from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s subcommittee on the Catechism.
  • Parents catechizing at home are expected to participate in the life of the parish, which may include:
    • Participation in parent sessions
    • Attendance at parish and diocesan catechist formation sessions
    • Participation in sacramental program, retreats, liturgical celebrations, etc.
    • Being a part of the community for worship and other such events as determined in the covenant.
  • The covenant should also include what resources and support you should get from the pastor and his parish catechetical leader, including materials and opportunities for the parents’ faith development.
  • If home catechesis includes formation for the first reception of sacraments, the covenant should include information about how the pastor will determine readiness for children to receive these sacraments and keeping in mind the norms for the reception of the sacraments in the proper order.

For More Information

To reference all diocesan policies, please see

Curriculum Conformity List

Per diocesan policy BK3§504.4.1, textbooks used for catechesis for children and adolescents must be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and found on the Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series published by the USCCB Subcommittee on the Catechism.

Some of the texts that are on the approved list are available for preview from the Office for Catholic Education. A bibliography is posted below. Contact the Office for Catholic Education at (217) 698-8500, ext. 154, or email to make arrangements to preview samples from this list.


The Conformity Listing is a cumulative listing of catechetical texts and materials which are in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and are currently available from publishers. The Conformity Listing is updated on a regular basis.

The Subcommittee on the Catechism of the USCCB determines if a given catechetical text or catechetical series is in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Catholic publishers voluntarily submit their catechetical materials to the Subcommittee for review. A text is eligible for a conformity review if it falls into one of the following categories:

  1. A religion textbook series for students in Catholic elementary schools and/or parish Religious Education programs;
  2. A religion textbook series for junior high students in Catholic schools and/or parish Religious Education programs;
  3. A religion textbook series or individual high school texts for students in Catholic high schools or parish Religious Education programs;
  4. Teacher manuals or catechist manuals designed to accompany any of the above;
  5. Student Religion workbooks that are part of a basal series;
  6. Sacramental preparation materials that follow the Sacramental Preparation Protocols (working instruments approved in June 2013);
  7. Supplemental materials which explicitly and consistently cross-reference an approved basal series.

For a variety of reasons, not all catechetical texts and materials are subject to a conformity review. If a specific item does not appear on the Subcommittee's Conformity Listing this does not necessarily mean that it has been reviewed and found to be deficient. A conformity review is not applicable to materials that fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Catechetical materials that provide doctrinal content in teacher or catechist manuals rather than in student materials. The Subcommittee will undertake a conformity review of teacher or catechist manuals only when they complement student materials that already have a declaration of conformity or are under review for conformity.
  2. Catechetical materials that are published in the form of regularly updated leaflets or periodicals with frequently changing content. These include materials related to the Church's liturgical year.
  3. Individual monographs which focus specifically on individual topics, teachings or devotions, including biblical commentaries and college level student texts.
  4. Materials that include biological and physiological content along with catechetical content.
  5. Digital media, including websites and DVDs.

Publishing Companies on the Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series

The following list is specific to publishers.  A link is provided if the publisher has a webpage (as of July 3, 2019). These links are provided for convenience and should not be considered an endorsement of any of the entities listed below.

Disclaimer: The subcommittee does not currently review the following components in catechetical programs that may be found on their approved list: videos, parent/sponsor materials, websites, digital libraries, and any other materials found on the letter on eligibility and applicability from the subcommittee.

Educational Review

Catholic Schools and parish formation programs are reviewed periodically. Areas of review include the content of faith formation classes, Catholic identity and formation efforts of the catechists of the school and parish formation program.

Faith Formation

The faith formation assessment seeks to identify concerns within the core religion/theology classes taught at the Catholic school. Areas of concern include:


  • Textbooks not on the Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee on the Catechism
  • Textbooks not consistent with published diocesan religion standards
  • Time of instruction below diocesan standards
  • Religion/Theology is not a core subject taught daily
  • No assessment tool is used to gauge student learning

Catholic Identity

The Catholic Identity portion of an educational review seeks to identify concerns about a school’s Catholicity beyond what is taught in religion/theology classes. Areas of concern include:

  • Mass not celebrated at least once a week
  • Liturgical seasons are not celebrated outside religion/theology classes
  • Reconciliation or other devotional practices are not offered
  • Service projects do not reflect a Christian perspective on what it means to serve others
  • No Christian anthropology on human sexuality
  • Lack of personal safety training
  • Absence of formation on vocation and what it means to follow God’s call
  • No connection between parish and school
  • Lack of Christian environment such as art and décor
  • No connection with the universal mission of the Church such as through diocesan programs like the Missionary Childhood Association

Catechist Formation

Formation and certification of catechists is also a key component of assessing a school’s Catholic identity. All administrators, teachers and aides in a Catholic school are expected to achieve and maintain the Advanced Level of certification in the diocesan Catechist Formation Process (see diocesan policies, Book 3 §302.5.1). Areas of concern include:

  • Catechist records are not kept up to date
  • Attendance certificates are not on file to support the hours of formation reported on Permanent Record Cards
  • Formation programs claimed for credit are not approved by the Office for Catholic Education
  • No evidence of ongoing formation is documented
  • No plans are in place to complete areas of formation needed to progress in the Catechist Formation Process
  • High school theology teachers are not appropriately degreed and certified

Religion Assessment

The diocese is scheduled for ACRE assessments in February. Below is an update from the National Catholic Education Association on assessments during a pandemic. Grades 5, 8 and 11 or 12 should take the assessment. Go to to register for the assessment.

[Letter quoted from NCEA]

Dear Colleagues:

We pray for the continued safety of all teachers and students as you begin the 2020 school year. Our team is here to support you during this time of uncertainty and change.

The pandemic introduced online learning to many organizations who were not using it previously. As a result, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) online resources are also in greater demand. In response, we have launched NCEA Virtual, an innovative offering which encompasses the enhanced IFG Program (ACRE and Adult Survey) as well as many other tools and offerings for students, teachers and administrators.

Additionally, we recognize all our members are being asked to do more with less and are implementing price reductions to hopefully relieve some anxiety around budget concerns.

Streamlined assessments – The paper and pencil ACRE assessment price remains at $4 per student, but cost for online testing and reporting drops to $2.50 per student.

Packaged professional development – For $9.99 per person, each individual will be able to complete the assessment, identify their areas of weakness and receive immediate access to four online courses addressing those topics. These courses can be viewed anytime, anywhere, on any device. Strengthen your religious education program starting with staff!

Faster feedback – Online reporting now tracks progress and results, identifying strengths and weaknesses by class and by student.

Award-winning technology and support – NCEA was recently named Winner of the Silver American Business Awards (Stevie Awards) - in the Student Assessment Solution Category. Our award-winning staff is here to support you while using the NCEA Virtual platform.

Brand new assessments – We are in the process of rewriting and adding new levels to the ACRE Program to align with the new General Directory for Catechesis. The new version will be available spring 2021.

For those schools not holding in-person classes: We will work with you to administer the online ACRE and Adult Survey remotely as well as the traditional proctored classroom setting. Please email for more information.

Contact us today to discuss your options for professional development and assessment administration. We are here to serve you, we appreciate the tremendous challenge you are facing and we are grateful for your dedication to staff and students.

Kathy Mears
Interim President/CEO

[End Quote from NCEA]