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  .

Faith Studies

A comprehensive overview of the basic teachings of the Catholic Faith.

All adults are invited to take part in courses of interest. Courses may be applied to catechist certification.

A Certificate in Catholic Faith Foundations Studies will be given by the Diocese of Memphis to those who complete 100 clock hours of study embracing at least the minimum number of hours listed for each topic.

The Course of Studies is based on Sacred Scripture, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Standards for Certification for Lay Ecclesial Ministers.

Course of Studies

  • Catholic Bible Overview:
    • Old Testament (10 HRS)
    • New Testament (10 HRS)
  • Catholic Belief (10-20 HRS)
  • Catholic Worship (10-20 HRS)
  • Life in Christ, Catholic Moral Life (10-20 HRS)
  • Catholic Prayer and Spirituality (10-20 HRS)
  • Catholic Church History (10-20 HRS)
  • Catholics and Other Faith Traditions (10-20 HRS)

These courses are offered through the Diocesan Office of Catechesis in cooperation with parishes and other diocesan programs. Some are offered in both Spanish and English.

Course opportunities are published in the West Tennessee Catholic newspaper and in parish bulletins.

Biblical Studies Certification Program.

The Diocesan Biblical Studies Certificate Program: An Overview.

All adults are invited to take one or several courses in Sacred Scripture.

Certificates will be awarded to those who complete 150 hours of class, including the minimum number of hours indicated in parentheses for each area listed below. Example: A 10-hour study of Book of Exodus suffices for the Pentateuch/Law required course.

Bible electives (20 hours) may be taken from this list or may be related topics such as Praying the Scriptures, The Lectionary, and so forth.

  • Catholic Bible Overview (10 HRS)
    Old and New Testaments, including Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation
  • Pentateuch/Law (10 HRS)
    Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy
  • Early History (10 HRS)
    Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings
  • Later History (10 HRS)
    1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 1 & 2 Maccabees
  • Wisdom Books (10 HRS)
    Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach
  • Prophetic Books (20 HRS)
    1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 1 & 2 Maccabees
  • The Gospels and Acts of the Apostles (25 HRS)
  • Letters of Paul (20 HRS)
    To the Romans, 1& 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians
  • Other New Testament Writings (15 HRS)
    1 & 2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon; Hebrews; James; 1 & 2 Peter; 1, 2, & 3 John; Jude; Revelation
  • Bible Electives (20 HRS)

Courses will be offered at various locations by qualified presenters. Presenters will consult with the Diocesan Office of Religious Education regarding resource materials and course outlines. Little Rock Scripture Study and other programs may be used.

 Fall 2019 Classes with Sr. Cathy Galaskiewicz, OP  Please pre-register for all classes


Catholics and Non-Christian Religions

In this 4-week series learn the core teachings of 4 major world religions.

Do they have anything in common with Christianity?

What is the official Catholic Church teaching regarding them?

Cost for series is $10 or $3 per session, if you can only attend certain sessions.

Materials provided.  Some field trip options will be available.  6+ hours credit.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 1695 Central Ave., Conference Room, Lower Level

4 Mondays, 10-11:30 a.m. or 6:30-8 p.m.

September 9:  Hinduism; September 16: Buddhism; September 23:  Judaism; September 30:  Islam

Church of the Holy Spirit, 2300 Hickory Crest Drive, Conference Room

4 Tuesdays, 10-11:30 a.m.

September 10:  Hinduism; September 17:  Buddhism; September 24:  Judaism; October 1:Islam


Bible Teachings for Amazing Health

From the first chapters of Genesis to the last chapters of Revelation, the Bible offers teachings that can transform our health!  Learn these teachings and the science that bears them out.

Saturday, September 14 at St. Alphonsus Church, 1225 Highway 51, Covington, TN

10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  Bring Bible and lunch. Drinks will be provided.  Cost $10.  5 hours credit.

Catechetical Methods Courses for beginners and experienced teachers alike:


Key Strategies for PRE Catechists and School Religion Teachers

Saturday, September 28 at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 8151 Chimneyrock Blvd., Cordova, TN

9 a.m.-noon.  Snacks will be provided.  Cost $5.  3 hours credit.

Teaching Catholicism as a Way of Life  (for those who teach children, teens, adults)

Saturday, October 5 at St. William Church, 4932 Easley Ave., Millington, TN

9 a.m.-noon.  Snacks will be provided.  Cost $5.  3 hours credit.


The First Letter to the Corinthians: a study of St. Paul’s monumental commentary on early Church life.  This eight-week course will especially focus on the moral questions treated in the letter.

When: Wednesday evenings (7-8:30 p.m.), September 18 – November 6, 2019

Where: Dominican House on campus of St. Agnes Academy – St. Dominic School, 4830 Walnut Grove Rd., Memphis

Cost: $10

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

Registration: 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.


Catechetical leaders and teachers of faith to children, youth, and adults engage in ongoing faith formation in accord with the standards and course of studies approved for the Diocese of Memphis.

Parishes and schools provide annual opportunities for teachers and staff to grow in knowledge of the Catholic faith through local and/or diocesan programs.

The Diocesan Office of Catechesis provides courses at central locations, as well as at local sites, in cooperation with local leadership. Courses are available in Spanish and English.

Courses in line with the Catechist Formation Course of Studies may be taken through Christian Brothers University, the Institute for Liturgy and Spirituality, online programs, video options, and parish courses, in consultation with the Office of Catechesis. College credits and previous diocesan certificates are recognized and applied to certification.


  • Intermediate Certificate: Catechists who teach children pre-K through Grade 6
  • Advanced Certificate: Catechists who teach youth Grades 7-12
  • Professional Certificate or equivalent: Catechetical Leaders and Catechists of Adults.

Catechists take a minimum of 10 clock hours of study per year until they reach their standard. To maintain certification, all catechetical leaders and catechists take 5 hours of study per year, (or 10 hours/2 years), with preference given to the Course of Studies in the Certification program.

Levels of Certification

  • Basic (30 HRS)
    20 hours theology plus 10 hours catechetical methods.
  • Intermediate (40 HRS more)
    30 hours theology plus 10 hours catechetical methods.
  • Advanced (50 HRS more)
    40 hours theology plus 10 hours catechetical methods
  • Professional (120 HRS more)
    110 hours theology plus 10 hours catechetical methods.

Course of Studies

  • Catholic Faith Foundations Based on Scripture, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other Church documents.
  • Catholic Belief, Catholic Bible Overview, Catholic Worship, Catholic Church History and Catholic Morality (10-20 HRS each one)
  • Catholics and Other Faith Traditions, Catholic Prayer, and Catholic Spirituality (5-10 HRS each one)

Catechetical Methods/Competencies (5-10 hours)

Required: At least 10 hours from among the following courses:

  • Mission To Teach
  • Echoes of Faith Methods
  • Catechetical Methods for Children, Teens, Adult Faith Formation
  • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
  • Effective Director of Religious Education

Elective Methods/Competencies (5-10 hours each one)

  • Years of Catechetical Experience
  • Psychology/Group Dynamics
  • Special Education
  • Eucharistic Minister Formation
  • Course in Teaching Sacraments
  • Mentoring
  • Education courses
  • Personnel/leadership training
  • Lector Formation
  • Course in Liturgies for Children

Special Needs

  • The Diocese of Memphis provides religious education, including sacramental preparation, for all members.
  • 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, and it is available through the Diocesan Media Library. There are no copyright restrictions, so teachers are welcome to copy materials as needed. Sacramental preparation materials are included.

There is no cost for this program. It is composed of persons with deep faith and professional expertise, who are willing and ready to share faith with those who continue to inspire all of us with their faith, hope, and love.

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