The Department of Catechesis serves the catechetical mission of the diocese by assisting and enabling religious educators for the ministry and supporting lifelong faith formation programs within parishes, schools and at the diocesan level.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#426), catechesis is defined as the broader mission of the Church to proclaim the Gospel to adults, youth and children in order to “put people in communion with Jesus Christ.”

To review our  Sacramental Norms, click on this link  Diocese Norms for Sacraments_Diocese of Memphis  .


Any adult who volunteers or who works at a parish, must complete a background check and VIRTUS training. VIRTUS is a program created by the National Catholic Risk Retention Group in the United States with a “Protecting God’s Children” component that combats sexual abuse of children in the Church. Training is provided at parishes throughout the Diocese, check with your parish office to find a class near you.

Background Authorization – Current 2021

Catechetical Institute - Faith Studies

The Catechetical Institute (CI) exists as a resource and method for lifelong formation in our Catholic Faith. Intellectual, pastoral, spiritual, and personal formation in the light of the Gospel message are essential for us to grow in the love of Christ and his Church and to share that love with all those we meet.

Whether you are a leader carrying out God’s call to care for others through pastoral work, a catechist forming young people in the faith, a volunteer in your parish’s youth programs, a bible study leader, a teacher in a catholic school, or a parent fulfilling your role as the primary catechist for your children, CI has workshops and mentors to enable you to fulfill your call with confidence and strength.

If you have questions about the Franciscan At Home website, please email

CONTINUING EDUCATION COURSE  with Father Carmen are available throughout the year. Please check your parish bulletin for details or Contact him directly at:

 Fr. Carmen Mele, O.P., rector of the National Shrine and Institute of St. Martin de Porres

Call 901-578-2643 or email

Fr. Carmen has recently come to Memphis from St. Louis where he taught at the Aquinas Institute of Theology.  He holds a licentiate degree in Moral Theology and a Doctor of Ministry degree.

The National Shrine and Institute of St. Martin de Porres was established in Memphis at St. Peter Church in 2001.  Its mission is to reach beyond boundaries of race, class, denomination, and nationality to promote social justice, spiritual growth, and healing works.

Special Needs

  • The Diocese of Memphis provides religious education, including sacramental preparation, for all members.
  • If there is someone in your household with special needs that is interested in receiving a sacrament, please contact St. Michael’s Catholic Church – Special Ministry Department –  Gwen Coffey at
  • The Parish Director of Religious Education sees to the provision of this catechesis at the parish level.
  • Students with special needs are included in regular parish education classes as much as possible.
  • For those with greater disabilities, the DRE may call on qualified resource teachers with training in special education.
  • The Office of Catechesis has established a Religious Education Resource Committee. This Committee meets to compile and maintain a current list of Catholic special education teachers available as needed to resource parish Directors of Religious Education. These teachers may be active or retired. The committee may recommend to the diocesan office or parishes specific ways/programs to enhance religious education for those with special needs.
  • The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Program is affirmed and available for use. This is a comprehensive developmental Catholic Religious Education Curriculum, developed by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Department for Persons with Disabilities. This program is being used at Madonna Learning Center. Find the program online. Sacramental preparation materials are included.
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