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Catechist Certification

The Office of Religious Education provides formation for the certification of catechists in accordance with the guidelines established by the California Catholic Conference of Bishops.


These guidelines outline the process and standards whereby a catechist can gain or renew the California Catechist Certificate, or by which an experienced catechist can gain or renew the California Master Catechist Certificate.


The California Catechist Certificate

The California Catechist Certificate is awarded to those candidates for certification who successfully complete a program of formation approved by the Archdiocesan Office of Religious Education and designed for the particular purpose of basic catechist formation. Catechists are certified for a period of three years, and are expected to participate in ongoing formation to maintain and renew their certification.

Formation opportunities take place throughout the year at Ministry Formation Centers which are organized in local parishes across the five pastoral regions of the Archdiocese.

The Office of Religious Education has devised a program of formation comprised of three distinct steps, or phases:

  1. Theology Phase
  2. Specialization Phase
  3. Practicum Phase

Upon completion of the process for certification, candidates are invited to be commissioned by the local ordinary as the Chief Catechist of the Archdiocese at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels at a special Ceremony of Commissioning which usually takes place on or about the Second Sunday of September each year. Following the commissioning ceremony, newly commissioned catechists are registered as Certified Catechists in the Archdiocese and the California Catechist Certificate is issued and mailed. Additional information can be found on the following page:  Become a Certified Catechist​.



Information on the recertification of Certified Catechists can be found on the following page:

Recertification Page

Note:  Recertification forms are processed on the fourth (4th) Friday of each month except for December when they are processed on or before the third (3rd) Friday.


Alternatives to the Established Certification Process

The guidelines of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops allow for the awarding of a California Catechist Certificate without a catechist participating in the traditional, established process of catechist formation.

  • Catechists who have achieved certification or its equivalent outside the State of California, and who have been actively involved in catechetical ministry, may contact the  Coordinator of Catechist Formation at the Office of Religious Education, or their local Regional Coordinator. 
  • Online Formation is not strictly online, but rather uses a blended model of face-to-face learning sessions combined with online courses offered through the Archdiocesan partnership with the University of Dayton, a Catholic Marianist Institution of Higher Learning.  Catechist Certification through Dayton is currently under development. If you would like to be notified when this option becomes available please e-mail the Coordinator for Basic Catechist Formation.
  • ​For more information on Adult Faith Formation opportunities and Recertification options through the University of Dayton, please visit our E-Learning page.
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