The diocesan Office of Religious Education (ORE) has announced it will offer four online courses for the winter and spring of 2016 that can be applied to basic certification for catechists.
Elizabeth A. Marcil, ORE director, said those taking the courses will be involved with local facilitators and other catechists. The program will allow them the opportunity to discuss their faith with other adults, help them develop a stronger understanding of the faith, build confidence and help them teach it better. She said the courses can make it easier for catechists to discuss the faith with their students.
The diocese has more than 18,000 young people and more than 2,400 catechists, she said. It is not necessary to be a catechist to enroll. The courses are open to any adult and offer an opportunity for adult faith formation.
The courses are “The Scriptures,” Jan. 1-31, Barbara Ramian, facilitator; “Liturgy & Sacraments,” Feb. 1-29, Barbara Ramian, facilitator; “I Believe/We Believe,” March 1-31, Judi Brennan, facilitator, and “Catholic Morality,” April 1-30, Maura Sweeney, facilitator.
The courses make up the Echoes 3.0, RCL Benziger’s online version of the Echoes Plus catechist training program, Mrs. Ramian wrote in a letter to diocesan catechetical leaders, announcing the program. Mrs. Ramian is associate director of the religious education office.
“While this is not intended to replace the “live” catechist training classes that are already happening in the diocese, this will give one more option for catechists,” she stated.
She said the 3.0 program will allow catechists whose busy schedules prevent them from attending the live courses “to pursue ongoing faith formation in the comfort of their homes and at their convenience.”
Mrs. Ramian said the courses are an easy, non-threatening way to learn more about the faith.
The office issued the following guidelines for those who want to take the online courses:
Participants will be able to access the course beginning the first day of each month and work at their own pace by going online any time, day or night, during the month. They are expected to work on the courses throughout the month rather than at the last minute.
All work should be completed by the end of the month. The facilitator will check with participants on a regular basis and offer feedback as needed. Participants will be asked to contribute regularly to the discussion board. The facilitator will determine guidelines.
Successful completion of the course, as determined by the facilitator, will result in credit toward catechist certification by the diocese.
Catechists are asked not to register through the RCL website. They should use the registration form sent to parish catechetical leaders. The value of participating in one of the diocesan groups is that the course will have a local facilitator, the ORE will handle record-keeping and participants may earn catechist certification.
“Only courses taken through one of the Diocese of Worcester groups can be applied to catechetical certification,” according to the guidelines.
– Cost is $10 for each course, payable to the ORE. When a catechist registers through the ORE he or she will be given instructions and a code to log into the course. Those wishing more information may call the office at 508-929-4303.