Pillars of Catholic Faith
The Pillars of Catholic Faith program is designed for school personnel, and is a joint effort between the Institute for Ongoing Formation at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, the Office of Catholic Schools, and the Office of Catechesis & Youth Ministry which is the final certifying body.
There are four pillar courses. Each pillar course requires ten hours of class instruction by an adjunct Instructor of the University and hired and assigned by The Institute for Ongoing Formation. The courses offered through the University of St. Mary of the Lake earn Continuing Education Units. Classes are conveniently held at schools throughout the Chicago Archdiocese.
All Catholic school teachers must complete the Four Pillars of Catholic Faith. This requirement is to ensure that all teachers have the same understanding of our Catholic Faith and represent the Catholic Faith in day to day school life. It is NOT designed as an aid to directly instruct school children in these areas.
The Four Pillars of Catholic Faith are:
Scripture & Tradition Christianity is a revealed religion. This fact is constitutional to any understanding of the Catholic Faith. This course considers the human capacity for God and God's initiative to meet humankind through revelation. It considers the stages of revelation in the history of the people of Israel and in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ. The conservation and transmission of the Faith through Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium and our response of belief are also covered.
Profession of Faith – Creed When God reveals humanity's response to believe, the Creed presents the basic "rule of faith" which tells us the content of the Catholic Faith. Central to Christianity is belief in the Trinity. After a study of God's inner life, the course turns to Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. It will consider the Incarnation, the Passion, Cross and Resurrection, Ascension and Second Coming. Finally, we consider the work of the Holy Spirit, the nature and mission of the Church, Mary and the Last Things.
Catholic Morality Our belief draws forth a vocation to life in the Spirit. That life is grounded in the dignity of the human person and the communal character of the human vocation. This module will consider free will, conscience, virtue, and sin. It will survey the commandments of God and the precepts of the Church. It will also explore the role of morality in personal holiness and social justice.
Liturgy, Sacraments & Prayer The central insight of Catholic Christianity is the sacramental economy, which is the work of the Holy Trinity in human history. Our liturgical and sacramental life is the mirror of our belief and one of the means by which our Tradition is handed on to each generation. Our individual prayer prepares us for the liturgy and extends its celebration in our spiritual life. The module will consider the liturgy, the seven sacraments, and devotional prayer.
Pillar Course Schedule and Registration
Pillars of Catholic Faith courses are held at Catholic Schools throughout the Chicago Archdiocese hosted by generous principals. The hosting school chooses the pillar, days, and times within guidelines provided.
Courses are added on a continuous basis as schools offer to host. Approximately 80 pillar courses are scheduled per year, in every Vicariate in the Archdiocese. June and August offer approximately 20 pillar courses each. No courses are held in July.
For Schedules: Schedules for the Pillar of Catholic Faith courses are found at the right
We are looking for schools willing to host Pillars Classes. We will hire and pay the instructors - just need the classroom space.
To Register: Call or email your full name, school of employment, contact information, and desired Course ID# (ex. 1314SCR2) to:
Assoc. Dir. Megan Deichl email@example.com (847)837-4558
Tuition: is $95.00. Invoices will be sent to principals after the course has been completed. Certificates of Completion will be mailed after payment has been applied.
Schools please mail payment to:USML Ongoing Formation in Ministry1000 E. Maple AvenueMundelein, IL 60060 ~ Thank you.
Hosting a pillar at your school
HOSTING A PILLAR AT YOUR SCHOOL
It’s very easy to host any of the four Pillars of Catholic Faith. We try to do all the work at this end, but need schools to provide the facility. This spreads the location of the courses around the Dioceses making it easier for teachers and supports attending with co-workers. See current pillars course schedule for examples. Below are basic questions to address, see further details:
- What dates/times work for your school calendar?
- Allow 10 instructive hours for the course (then add break times – hour lunch and 2 - 15 minute breaks)
- Which of the Pillar Courses? (listed below in typical order)
- Profession of Faith – Creed
- Liturgy, Sacraments, and Prayer
- Scripture and Tradition
- Catholic Morality
- Shall we Post it on our Website (www.ofim.org) and open registration to guarantee a minimum of 12?
- What room should the teachers/instructor be directed to go?
- Are parking instructions needed for visiting teachers/instructor?
- Any plans for breakfast/lunch/snacks/drinks or should everyone be on their own?
After the first two questions are answered, Megan Deichl, our Associate Director of Ongoing Formation In Ministry, who manages our institute’s calendar will schedule the course and instructor. After your choice is scheduled on the calendar, we can address the third question and begin to register teachers.
Thank you for your interest in hosting and offering this opportunity to your teachers! Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Initial Catechetical Certification
All teachers in the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic School System are required to take the Four Pillars of Catholic Faith. If a teacher is a practicing Catholic, he or she should continue to pursue certification as a Catechist. Click on this link Initial Catechetical Certification Application for an example of the application. Updated applications should be obtained from Caroline Braas in the Office of Catholic School Identity at 312-534-5244.
*** Once a teacher is a Certified Catechist, the pillars are NOT to be re-taken for Re-Certification. ***
Requirements are completion of the following:
Pillars of Catholic Faith: 1) Scripture and Tradition; 2) Profession of Faith - Creed; Liturgy; 3) Sacraments, and Prayer; and 4) Cathoic Morality. These courses are offered through the University of St. Mary of the Lake.* Other comparable theology courses as listed in the application may be able to be used as equivalencies upon approval.
Reflection Paper: the question is found in the application
Day of Reflection: Request to attend is found on the application. Contact the Office of Catholic School Identity at 312.534.5244.
*The database for the Pillars of Catholic Faith program has been kept and maintained since the 1990’s, though the original Ongoing Formation organization was disbanded and restructured through USML in 2006. For inquires of past records, transcripts, Certificates, upcoming courses, or hosting a Pillar contact us.
Certified Catechists needing Recertification Credit
A Certified Catechist is expected to continue growing in their faith and is required to renew their Certification every five years. There are many way to earn the 50 hours (10 per year) for recertification. The Pillars of Catholic Faith may not be retaken for those hours.
The programs offered at the Institute for Ongoing Formation that are approved for re-certification are the theological courses in the Catechetical Leadership Program and the Summer Scripture Seminar. See Menu links at right for these programs. For other opportunities, school personnel should call the office of Catholic School Identity at 312.534.5305.
Megan Deichl at: 847.837.4558
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Institute For Ongoing Formation Catholic Pillars Instructors
Elena Chermak, MDiv, DMin – Certified Lay Ecclesial Minister for Archdiocese of Chicago
Anne Chrzan, MHS, MDiv – Associate Director, Institute for Deacon Formation
Deacon Bob Cislo, MDiv
Lois DeFelice – Vicariate VI Catechetical Ministry Coordinator
Marge Garbacz – Certified Lay Ecclesial Minister for Archdiocese of Chicago
Reverend Bernard Kennedy, OFM, MEd, DMin (Cand)
Reverend Henry Kricek, MA, STL
Terry Navarro, MAPS – Certified Lay Ecclesial Minister for Archdiocese of Chicago
Clare Poupard, MDiv – Certified Lay Ecclesial Minister for Archdiocese of Chicago
Deacon Bob Puhala, MS, MA – Director, Institute for Deacon Formation
Michelle Shaffer, MAPS – Certified Lay Ecclesial Minister for Archdiocese of Chicago
Reverend William Sheridan, MDiv, STL, MAS, MA, MA
Catherine Sims, MEd, MDiv – Certified Lay Ecclesial Minister for Archdiocese of Chicago
Deacon Chuck Thompson
Vivian Williams, MAPS
Megan Deichl at: 847.837.4558 or email: email@example.com.