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Parish Catechetical Leader Certification

Catechetical Leader Certification

"The single most critical factor in an effective catechetical is the leadership of a professionally trained parish catechetical leader." - National Directory for Catechesis, 54

Every parish catechetical leader (PCL) and youth ministry coordinator (YMC) must be properly prepared, educated and formed to lead and inspire the people of their parish in the faith of Jesus Christ. The PCL and YMC are more than coordinators of programs; the are visionaries and role models who desire to bring all people into a relationship with Jesus Christ.


In the Diocese of Portland, certification includes: Theological Formation, Pastoral Formation, Ongoing Formation and Spiritual Formation. Theological Formation may be completed through online courses offered through three colleges. Pastoral Formation courses are offered through the University of Dayton's VLCFF (Virtual Learning Community of Faith Formation). Ongoing Formation is provided by the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation through monthly meetings of the Lifelong Faith Formation Association (LFFA), a variety of ministry workshops, a yearly retreat and the annual Parish Life Conference.  Spiritual Formation can be attained through reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist as well as other endeavors.

Theological Formation

STEP University of Notre Dame 
Cost: $99 per course

Required Courses:

Introduction to the Catholic Faith or The Creed:
  We Believe...

• Ecclesiology
• Introduction to the New Testament
• Liturgical Theology
• Introduction to the Sacraments
• The Six Tasks of Catechesis
• The Christian Conscience & Ethical Dilemmas:

  Guidance from the Six Tasks of Catechesis

VLCFF* University of Dayton
$105 per course; $80 per seminar

Required Courses:

• Introduction to Catechesis
• Catholic Beliefs
• Ecclesiology:  Beginnings of the Church
• Introduction to Liturgy
• Sacraments
• Introduction to Christian Morality or
  Introduction to Practical Morality
• Introduction to Scripture

* Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation

St. Joseph's College of Maine
Certificate in Catholic Catechesis

Each course: $300

Six Required Courses:

• TH 106 Foundations of Catholic Doctrine
• TH 107 Liturgy and Sacraments
• TH 108 Catholic Spirituality

• TH 109 Catholic Moral Theology
• TH 110 Introduction to Sacred Scripture
• TH 111 The Trinity and the Church

Each course is one college credit.

10% Discount for Diocese of Portland
for faith formation

Pastoral Formation

VLCFF University of Dayton

PCL required courses:

• Designing a Parish Catechetical Plan

Plus two of the following:
• Faith and Human Development

• Administration in Ministry
• Communication and Community

YMC required courses:

• A Vision for Catholic Youth Ministry

Plus two of the following:
• Planning for Youth Ministry
• Prayer and Worship with Adolescents
• Relational Ministry with Youth

Spiritual Formation

• Participate in Sunday Eucharist
• Attend an annual retreat
• Participate in a parish mission
• Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly
• Seek Spiritual direction
• Commit to reading Scripture
• Surround yourself with spiritual companions
whom to share your faith

PCLs and YMCs Seeking Certification

• Notify OLFF when you begin your first course
• Register online with the college of your choice
• Contact OLFF for an interview when theological
  and pastoral formation is completed
• Please contact OLFF staff if you need assistance.

For a printable copy of this brochure,
click here.

Ongoing Formation

Upon completion of certification,
click here for information about
ongoing formation and ministerial development.

Book List (updated Spring 2020)