Diocese launches new formation program for religious educators

‘Franciscan at Home’ followed three years of study, says Cabey

GREEN BAY — When children go to religion class, at Catholic schools or in their parishes, their instructors have been trained in the basics of the faith and are prepared to explain basic theology to their students.

In the Diocese of Green Bay, this training is handled by the Families and Schools of Discipleship Mission Team.

“In our diocese, every Catholic school principal, Catholic school administrator, Catholic school teacher and teacher aide, Catholic school librarian, parish coordinator of religious education and every catechist must complete Foundational Catechetical Certification (FCC), unless they have completed the Emmaus Program or have a degree in theology that includes classes in all of the areas required by FCC,” explained Maximus Cabey, child and youth faith formation director for the diocese.

The mission team has started a new catechetical formation program to help people earn their FCC with the diocese. The program, “Franciscan at Home,” is offered online through the Catechetical Institute at Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio.

This switch to a new program of instruction took place after three years of research, according to Cabey. The former program, Schoology, will no longer be available after Nov. 29. (Those currently enrolled will have until then to complete classes.)

Cabey said he believes this change “will revolutionize FCC in a big way, expanding, updating and upgrading our FCC content, quality and delivery. And thanks to the grant from the Catholic Foundation, it is all free for our Catholic school staff, our parishes and for all Curia staff who might be interested as well.”

Anyone — not only teachers and catechists — who wants to learn more about their Catholic faith can also sign up for free, Cabey added. He told The Compass that, so far, 210 parishes and schools have enrolled, and individuals can enroll through their parishes or schools.

“There is no cost to any institution or any individual,” Cabey emphasized. “They just need to go to franciscanathome.com/diocese-green-bay and create a free account under the diocese and under their parish or school.”

The number of class offerings is well beyond the six courses — Creed, Sacraments and Liturgy, Prayer and Spirituality, Morality, Bible and Methods — that had previously been offered. Cabey noted that now “there are dozens of tracks and over 150 workshops that cover many areas of parish and diocesan ministry as well — RCIA facilitator training, diaconal formation, Hispanic ministry, including workshops on parenting — to name a few.”

He noted that the switch to Franciscan at Home was also based on feedback from participants in the Schoology program. “We knew that, while many enjoyed the content of our FCC courses online, most were dissatisfied with the delivery platform,” Cabey explained, saying that the Schoology quiz format, as well as the difficulty some people had signing in and navigating the site, were frustrating. “This was especially true for many of our Catholic school teachers who needed greater flexibility in pursuing catechetical certification around incredibly busy schedules.”

Cabey called the Catechetical Institute at Franciscan University “perhaps the best in the world.” He added that more than 90 dioceses use Franciscan at Home, including the Dioceses of Madison and La Crosse.

The new program will offer more opportunities to more people to get “world-class catechetical formation that is affordable for our diocese,” Cabey added. “Easy to use, easy to access and it supports our focus on missionary discipleship and includes discipleship formation opportunities. 

“The platform has workshops that can benefit other areas in our diocese, such as diaconal formation, catechetical, leader formation, diocese staff formation, RCIA facilitator formation, family ministry tracks, resources for pastoral ministers, resources for priests,” he added, “FCC is only the tip of the good things Franciscan at Home makes available to the people of our diocese.”

There is no deadline to enroll in Franciscan at Home. Those who have already received catechetical certifications or completed the Emmaus Program will be considered certified under Franciscan at Home, Cabey said. College credits related to the six original certification courses can be submitted, via transcripts (copies are fine), for consideration. For more information, contact him at [email protected] or call (920) 272-8288.