In June 2021, the Office of Discipleship Formation within the Department of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship introduced a new catechist formation and certification program for parish and Catholic school personnel within the Archdiocese of Detroit. This Certification Program, structured after the Encounter-Grow-Witness paradigm of Unleash the Gospel, is designed to equip catechists to be effective in forming others, through the power of their own personal discipleship and witness.
On Fire for the Faith (OFFF) is the new Catechist Formation process which includes 20 modules organized into 4 mini-courses based on the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (plus an introductory course called "Embark on the Journey"). This program will satisfy the theological component of the catechist certification process. Other requirements within the certification process include an Encounter Retreat, internship, and catechetical discussion with your DRE or principal. These post requirements should be discussed with your DRE so they can be properly recorded once completed.
Why take a new approach?
Guidepost 4 of Unleash the Gospel is titled: EQUIPPING FOR THE SERVICE OF THE GOSPEL. This guidepost calls for all of Christ’s disciples who serve within the Archdiocese of Detroit to be nourished and strengthened to answer Jesus’ commission to go forth and proclaim his Gospel. On Fire For The Faith is meant to “equip the holy ones for the work of ministry” (Unleash the G Gospel, Guidepost 4).
Through On Fire For the Faith (OFFF) catechists and religious educators involved in the formation of others involved in parish and catholic school ministry have an opportunity to encounter Jesus Christ and become well-formed in the foundational teachings of the Church. The OFFF process is designed to invite our catechists into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and introduce catechists to what the Catholic Church professes, proclaims, and teaches both in the Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This structure of Church teaching is known as the Deposit of Faith.
“To become an effective evangelizer one must first be evangelized, since we cannot give away what we do not have” (Unleash the Gospel, Marker 4.1).
ON FIRE FOR THE FAITH includes three basic elements:
- Connect with your DRE or Principal and attend an Encounter Retreat.
- Complete the 5 required mini-courses on Equip: explore.shms.edu/aod-catechist
Participate in the online orientation to the formation process and four short online, on-demand courses, covering the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- Connect with your facilitator/supervisor in a convenient internship at one’s own parish or Catholic school.
Students will complete the 5 self-paced mini-courses through our online learning platform called Equip Canvas. The first is an introduction called "Embark on the Journey," which is an introduction and orientation to this Catechist Formation Process, andthe following 4 mini-courses are based on the 4 pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Course 1: Profession of Faith
Course 2: Celebration of Christian Mystery
Course 3: Life in Christ
Course 4: Prayer
How it all works
Each 4 pillar Module course consists of an introduction video and 3 lecture videos from either a Sacred Heart Major Seminary instructor or professor, or an Archdiocese of Detroit staff member.
Each Module also provides resources students need to complete the reflections and a list of resources called "Want to Learn More?" No specific textbooks are required, but it is highly recommended and helpful for students to preferably have a Catholic Revised Standard Version second edition Bible, Revised NAB Catholic edition Bible, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church on hand.
Students are required to watch each of the lecture videos and complete reflection exercises from the provided prompts (and complete 1 short quiz per module). These reflections will be submitted by the students to their facilitators, who they will meet with for personal discussion and reflection of each module.
Each course costs $25.00 and consists of either 4 or 6 Modules. If a student has already completed a Module, they will be issued a coupon. There is no cost for the Embark on the Journey introduction course. Thus, the total for someone who needs to complete all of the Modules/Topics is $100.
The OFFF courses are all self-paced or asynchronous; students are not required to log into the Canvas learning platform at any set day or time and the courses are completed on their time,according to their schedule. There is no timeframe for completing the online courses of the Catechist Formation program for parish Faith Formation catechists. Catholic School teachers however, have time commitments and should check with their Principal to review these requirements.
Now may be a good time to talk with your catechists about enriching their faith lives and their faith knowledge through the OFFF Certification Program. This is a great means of preparing your catechists for the coming faith formation or school year.
Upcoming Revision of the Lay Ministry Program
In the near future, the Archdiocese of Detroit, in partnership with Sacred Heart Major Seminary, will revise the lay ministry program as a natural progression to the On Fire for the Faith catechist certification program.
The revised Lay Ministry program will parallel the development of the Mission Direct process within the Families of Parishes.
The proposed structure of the revised Lay Ministry Program is to provide a specialized certificate in Catholic theology and catechetics, and graduate degrees courses in theology and catechetics.
Should you have any questions you can contact the Archdiocese of Detroit Department of Evangelization and Catechesis-Office of Discipleship Formation or Melissa Pordon, Distance Education Assistant at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, through the OFFF website.