Who's Teaching the Faith?


For most of my life I have been involved in catechesis. I have served as both a volunteer and in paid positions in the Church. I won’t bore you with my résumé; let’s just say I’ve done just about everything a lay person can do without needing special permission. I do though, have some special education, that is, I’ve studied Catholicism quite a bit both formally and informally.


I have a concern or worry and a problem. In the last few weeks I’ve heard youth leaders (all volunteer) say things that are just not quite right about the faith. When I think about it I am disturbed. I teach all the time: children, parents, adults, RCIA groups, scripture, and whatever else is needed. When I am asked a question and don’t know the answer, I admit it. I don’t make up an answer. I also leave my opinion at the door. When I speak, I am doing so from a position of authority and so what I say must be 100% in line with the Church.

Upon further thinking about this and asking people why they answered in such a way, I find that these folks think they are correct with their response. Even to go so far as to say, “Well, maybe you’re right, but that’s what I think” when corrected.

So here is my question to you: does your diocese require some level of training in order to be a catechist to children, youth, and/or adults? Does your parish? I am not talking here about “how to teach” training but rather training in Catholicism. How does your parish screen potential catechists?

I know what I think is a good plan, but sometimes when you talk to yourself you only seem brilliant. I would like to know what goes on in other places and take other views into consideration.

Copyright 2014, Deanna Bartalini


About Author

Deanna G. Bartalini, MEd, MPS, is a Catholic writer, speaker, and educator. Her Bible study, invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life, is published by Our Sunday Visitor. Her website, DeannaBartalini.com, is for the Every Day Catholic. There you can find Deanna’s writing, free <a href="https://deannabartalini.com/aneverydaycatholic/ "webinars on Catholicism, her podcast and social media services, and invite her to speak to your group, in person or virtually.


  1. Yes, my diocese had requirements that catechists know the basics of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Before retiring I used to do some of that training. Since I retired the diocese has provided a new way for catechist formation online. That makes it easier for those who lack the time to travel for special classes. (This is a semi-rural area and many catechists have to drive an 40 minutes to an hour to get to the parish.)

  2. We are a tiny rural parish in Eastern Montana with no paid staff–except for the guy who mows the lawn. The only training we are required to have is for child safety. We do a background check to make sure no one is an axe murderer, but no catechetical training.
    I am mostly “self taught” and this past year was my first try at teaching CCD. I did prepare before each class so that I knew what I was teaching was “Catholic”. Suffice it to say I have learned more about my faith this past year “teaching” than the previous 48.
    My dream is for there to be a FREE, USCCB driven (meaning everyone would be learning the same thing), training program by age level for catechists. Wouldn’t that be cool?

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