Bishop Ricken announces new religious certification for teachers, catechists

By | April 4, 2012



Bishop David Ricken addresses religious educators during a meeting March 30 at the Chancery. He announced that the new religious certification program will be based largely on the U.S. Catechism for Adults. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

He said that parents, who are “the first educators in ways of the faith,” are giving the instructors “an incredible trust and responsibility” to educate their children.


“You are given a trust of helping to save souls and bringing them into the light,” said Bishop Ricken.

He called the catechism and the USCCA “incredible documents” that the diocesan church can now use “as we begin to embrace a methodology to help with certification of catechists.”

In 2009, Bishop Ricken issued a pastoral letter, “A New Moment for Catechisis,” in which he announced that the USCCA would serve as “the foundational text for all adult faith formation and catechesis in the Diocese of Green Bay.”

Since the pastoral letter’s release, a committee led by Dr. Joe Bound, Department of Education director, has been working to prepare a religious certification program based on the USCCA.

“I see this as an incredible opportunity, now that we have the USCCA, and I think we are one of the first dioceses to do this so thoroughly,” said Bishop Ricken. “It’s my hunch that we are probably a leader in this area of taking the USCCA and putting it into our catechetical formation.”

According to Bishop Ricken, the goal of the certification program “is to help those who work in education and catechesis in the diocese to be well versed in the teachings of the Catholic Church.”


Parish representatives listen to Bishop David Ricken announce new guidelines on religious certification for parish catechists and Catholic school teachers. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

“I don’t know about you, but when people confront me (with questions) and I don’t know the answer right away, I get kind of panicky,” he told the room full of catechists. “You can imagine that people who have never had much of a background (in religious instruction), how they feel when people confront them with very strict questions.”

The new certification program will cover six components of study: the Creed, Sacraments and Liturgy, Morality, Prayer and Spirituality, Bible and Methods. These components encompass the four pillars of the USCCA and add the Bible and teaching methods.

The methods component contains two tracks, one for Catholic school teachers on integrating the Catholic faith into the subjects they teach and the other to assist religion education teachers with techniques and classroom management skills.

“I would ask that you would have the disposition of openness to say, the church has been around for 2,000 years,” Bishop Ricken told the educators. “This is a distillation of the knowledge of the church that’s come through the catechism and now the USCCA. I would say, presume the best. Probably the church has been through these challenges before in another way in another time. What does she have to teach me? I ask for your cooperation, understanding, so we can go forward together.”

More information on the religious certification program can be found at the diocesan website.

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