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CATECHESIS, EVANGELIZATION, AND YOUTH MINISTRY

Gary Niemerg
Director of Catechesis, Evangelization, and Youth Ministry


The Office of Catechesis, Evangelization, and Youth Ministry empowers young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.

CATECHESIS FORMATION AND CERTIFICATION

 

Our parish Catechists, whether they be parents motivated to assist their children to grow in their Catholic faith, or experienced teachers called to be evangelists of the Word, are the Church’s witnesses to God’s existence, message, and loving presence. As they lead those growing in our faith, whether they are elementary, middle school, high school students, adults completing RCIA or confirmed adults, they need support and guidance from both their Pastor and Parish Catechetical Leaders (PCLs). This endeavor requires cultivation and maturation of human gifts and talents, deepening spirituality, faith knowledge, and catechetical skills, and a passion for living and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with people of all ages and circumstances. In confirming their call, our diocese is committed to ongoing support for catechists by providing training to help them grow as disciples called to catechize.

In his apostolic exhortation, On Evangelization in the Modern World, Pope Paul VI articulated an important principle for the renewal of catechesis when he described catechesis as a work of evangelization in the context of the mission of the Church. This understanding clarified that catechesis is “a fundamental element of evangelization through all its stages and that both those who evangelize and those who are evangelized need to be nourished by the word of God.”. Further, Pope Francis stated that we should “find ways to spread the Word of God to every corner of the world”.

In our diocesan commitment to nourish those willing to help our faithful grow in their love of God, we are providing a basic Catechist Certification Program for all parish level catechists. This on-line course combines the complete review of the foundations of the Catholic faith combined with a series of lessons on catechetical pedagogy. This certification program is at no-cost to either the parish or catechist and is 100% on-line.

We encourage all PCLs and catechists to participate in this program and earn their basic Diocesan Catechist Certificate. This program is available now. Please ask your pastor or parish catechetical leader for enrollment information.

Contact: CatechistCertificationProgram@diocs.org


FAQs Regarding Catechists Certification Programs

Thank you for your interest in the recently announced Catechist Certification program for our diocese. We have had over ten parishes signup with Augustine Institute in the last week and we expect many more in the coming weeks.

We have had several questions regarding the program and below are responses to those inquiries:

  1. Is this certification required for all catechists within the diocese? – The Diocese of Colorado Springs greatly encourages all catechists to complete this program.
  2. Does this certification process supersede the legacy process that had been in place at the diocese?  In other words, are past certificates null and void and need to be updated?  - The simple answer is No.  Certificates that have been earned are still valid.  Moreover, we encourage those catechists that have earned a certificate to consider completing this program.  All of us can use review of our core faith.
  3. Will this program be self-paced? Are there start and finish dates?  This program is completely self-paced and there are no start and finish dates.  Through a dashboard, each Parish Catechetical Leaders (PCLs) will have the ability to review each catechist’s progress in the course and can contact them regarding their status.
  4. What is the approximate weekly commitment?  There are 26 lessons.  Each lesson is about an hour and is followed by a quiz.  Once one successfully completes the quiz, they are able to move on to the next session.  Depending on how quickly one wants to complete the course, the weekly commitment will vary.
  5. Will it be just watching the videos or are there interactive sessions with professors and fellow students similar to a college online course?  This course is 100% on-line with no interactive sessions with professors.  However, we encourage PCLs to hold parish level sessions to review content with their team.  Also, if you would like somebody from the diocese to meet with you team, please let us know and we will provide the appropriate resource.
  6. Will there be assignments with due dates? Quizzes? Exams?  No.  This is 100% self-paced.

 

 

HOW TO BECOME CATHOLIC

First of all, thank you for your interest in the Catholic faith!
We would be thrilled to walk the journey with you!

 

Your first step would be to contact your local Catholic parish and tell them you are interested in learning more about the Catholic Church. They will be glad to help you!

Or feel free to contact Gary Niemerg, the Director of Catechesis, Evangelization, and Youth Ministry at the Diocese of Colorado Springs and he will help you find a parish, or answer any other questions you might have.

 

May God bless you on this path!

 

Gary Niemerg
(719) 866-6533

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION GUIDELINES FOR YOUTH

The Diocese of Colorado Springs conforms to religious education guidelines as outlined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For further information please review the following information:

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committee on evangelization and catechesis:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has an in-depth process to ensure parish level religious education programs conform to the teachings of the Catholic faith.  Below is a detailed description of this process and a current listing of religious education programs, by title and publisher, that conform to the standards set by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Conformity process:

Current list of parish based religious programs that conform to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ standards:

Protocols for United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s review of catechetical materials, by grade/age:

Curriculum doctrinal elements for elementary grades

Curriculum doctrinal elements for high school aged students

Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities

 

For additional information please contact Director of Catechesis, Evangelization, and Youth Ministry, Gary Niemerg

RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS - FOR RCIA LEADERS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. Are forms needed for RCIA? Yes. There are RCIA intake forms for both adults and children here:
    1. RCIA Intake Form
    2. RCIA-C Intake Form
  2. Can the leader of RCIA fill out these forms? Only clergy and qualified lay leaders may fill out the RCIA intake forms. The baptismal and marriage information on this form needs to be critically looked at, hence the requirement that only qualified personnel who are trained in those areas can fill it out.
  3. Is there a book on RCIA? Yes. It is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
  4. What about the new Order of Christian Initiation of Adults that I’ve heard about recently? This new book will not be out until at least the spring of 2023, if not much later. For now, exclusively use the current RCIA book.
  5. Is there anything that I should change now to the current RCIA process before the new Order of Christian Initiation of Adults comes out?  No. Continue to use only the information in the current RCIA book.
  6. Can fully initiated Catholics join RCIA? In general, no, fully initiated Catholics should not be placed in RCIA sessions. Offer an RCIA-like alternative for them…a Catholic refresher class of sorts. Or better yet, ask them to be a sponsor for someone in RCIA!
  7. Does the diocese provide training on the RCIA process? Yes we do. In the short term, contact Gary Niemerg, the Director of Catechesis, Evangelization and Youth Ministry if you have any questions. In the long term, we hope to offer formal classes on RCIA. Stay tuned!
  8. Do the already baptized Christians in RCIA sign the Book of the Elect? No. The enrollment of names in the Rite of Election is only for the unbaptized. This is the Bishop’s promise that those persons will be initiated into Christ and the Church at the next Easter Vigil. Baptized candidates, by their baptism, are already initiated into Christ so they are not included in the book. However, their desire to complete their initiation, or to join into the full communion of the Catholic Church, is recognized at the Rite of Election. (RCIA 454)
  9.  Should unbaptized children in RCIA receive all three sacraments of initiation, or should their Confirmation be delayed until 8th Grade? Yes, they should receive all three sacraments of initiation. Once children have reached the age of reason (approx. 7 years old), they are no longer candidates for The Order of Baptism of Children. They are considered adults and should use the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process.
  10.  What about a child, say a 4th Grader, who was baptized Catholic as an infant, but didn’t receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Eucharist in 2nd grade? Should he/she receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in the RCIA for Children process or wait until the approved age/grade dictated by the diocese which is currently 8th Grade? We suggest having them wait until 8th grade to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. However, parents can ask for their child to receive the sacrament earlier. It is up to the pastor to grant this permission, with Bishop Golka’s approval, for an earlier reception of the sacrament.
  11. Is there really a Rite of Christian Initiation of Children (RCIC)? No. The reception of children who have reached catechetical age (age of reason, approx. 7 years old) into the Catholic Church follows the same process as for the adults. There is no separate process for children age 7 or older. Concerning which rite(s) to use, they are considered adults and should follow the RCIA process, not the infant baptism process. It is actually a part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) found in “Part II: Rites for Particular Circumstances.” So technically, it should be called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults for Children, or RCIA for Children. However, even though they are considered “adults” with regard to which process to use, they need age-appropriate catechesis.
  12. How long should the RCIA process last? It depends. For already baptized and catechized individuals, it could be weeks. For others who are unbaptized and uncatechized, it could be years (RCIA 7). This is where it is important to get to know your RCIA participants well in the initial interview and by spending time with them outside of the classroom sessions. Where are they in their faith journey? The RCIA book gives you guidance on what to look for, what are the indications, that they are ready to advance in the process (i.e. Rite of Acceptance and Rite of Election).
  13. What are some recommended materials/programs out there for RCIA?
    • ​​The Association of Catechumenal Ministry (ACM) materials are top notch and once purchased, copies of their extensive computer files can printed for life for free! https://acmrcia.org
    • The Symbolon program put out by the Augustine Institute is also very good. https://watch.formed.org/symbolon-the-catholic-faith-explained
    • There are many great supplements to either of the programs mentioned above. They include Bishop Barron’s “Catholicism” series and his Word on Fire website, lots of great offerings on FORMED.org, and many others. Feel free to contact Gary Niemerg for more information on these and other programs.
    • Of course, every RCIA participant should have a Bible and a Catechism of the Catholic Church. Recommended Bibles are either the New American edition (translation used at Mass) or the Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition (RSV-CE). There are other good translations as well. The best Bible is one that you will actually read!

Gary Niemerg, (719) 866-6533

YOUTH MINISTRY

Diocesan Youth Ministry networks with youth ministers to provide middle and high-school students opportunities to learn and live their faith within their parish community and in the community at large. Teens from around our diocese form the Diocesan Youth Board, giving voice and form to our endeavors, committing to a year of servant leadership and planning ways for their peers to deepen their relationship with Christ.

 

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