Catechetical Coordinator Program

Catechetical Coordinator Program


The Catechetical Coordinator Program is a three-year program designed to form the laity of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Joliet for ministry within the Catholic Tradition.  The program serves several constituencies, including adults involved in leadership positions in the parish as Coordinators of Religious Education, Coordinators of Youth Ministry, or Coordinators of Adult Faith Formation.  With the successful completion of the program, students will receive Catechetical Coordinator Certification.

This program is for those persons who are seeking to:

  • Grow in their faith and spirituality
  • Grow as human persons in the Divine Image
  • Engage in deep, systematic study of the Scriptures, Church History, Catholic Doctrine, the Sacraments, and the Catechism
  • Take classes with top scholars and Archdiocesan leaders, including faculty from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake and Benedictine University
  • Develop confidence and practical skills for active participation in the life of the Church
  • Participate in a cohort, learning in a supportive community and building valuable relationships with other Catholics who are passionate about their faith

Coordinator of Youth Ministry Program: This special program is for anyone seeking formation as a Coordinator of Youth Ministry. Here is a description of that formation program:

Coordinator of Youth Ministry Program Description


Adult learning style classes consist of lecture, small and large group discussions as well as written integration assignments.  While this is a non-graded program, students are evaluated at the end of each course as to their successful completion and comprehension of the content, both academically as well as personally and pastorally.

Classes meet weekly on Monday evenings throughout the academic year.  The sites include:

  • University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein
  • Saint Xavier University, Chicago
  • Benedictine University, Lisle

Academic courses include:

  • Revelation and the Creed
  • Liturgy, Sacraments & Prayer
  • Catholic Morality
  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Church History and Vatican II
  • Ecclesiology
  • Introduction to Catechetical Documents
  • Christology
  • Sacramental and Liturgical Theology
  • Catholic Morality and Catholic Social Teaching

All students begin the year with an Opening Retreat weekend in August.  In addition to the yearly retreat, participants come together for prayer, input, and reflection, usually one Saturday a month.  We begin our monthly Formation Days with Mass at 8:30 am  and end at 3:30 pm.

The formation process engages the students in the four dimensions of ministry formation: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral.  It also includes 300 hours of supervised ministerial practicum, and three ministerial courses: 1) Human Development and Faith, 2) Religious Education, Evangelization and Cultures, 3) Principles of Religious Education.

Formation Days include:

  • Opening Retreat, Year I
  • Introduction to the Dimensions of Formation
  • Human Formation I & II
  • Spiritual Formation I, II & III
  • Intellectual Formation
  • Pastoral Communication Skills for Ministry
  • Pastoral Formation
  • Catholic Identity
  • Closing Retreat, Year II
  • Canon Law
  • Catechetical Methodology I & II
  • Youth Ministry Leadership I & II (CYMs)
  • RCIA Intensive Workshop, Part 1 (CAFFs)
  • RCIA Intensive Workshop, Part 2 (CAFFs)
  • Closing Retreat, Year III​​

The 2019-2020 Catechetical Coordinator calendars (Year I & II are identical to the Lay Leadership Calendars) are available below:

Catechetical Coordinator Year I Calendar, 2019-2020

Catechetical Coordinator Year II Calendar, 2019-2020

Catechetical Coordinator Year III Calendar, 2019-2020

Program Cost

For the CRE and CAFF roles, the cost of the program is $1,350 per year.  In addition, there are 3 ministerial courses in Year III which are $225 each. Books are purchased by the student. There is an additional graduation fee of $30 for Year III students which covers the rental of the cap and gown.

For the CYM role, the cost of the USML portion of the program is $1,000 per year. The cost of the Office of Lifelong Formation portion of the program is $800 per year (Year 1 and Year 2).  There is an additional USML graduation fee of $30, and CMD graduation fee of $55.

Students may choose to pay the full amount independently or negotiate with their parish or sponsoring agency to share the cost.

Information Nights

Information Open House “Exploring Lay Ministry”  for the 2020-2021 academic year will be planned in early 2020.

Getting Started

If you are a baptized and confirmed adult Catholic, and have a high school diploma (or GED), all you need is a desire to grow in knowledge of the Catholic Faith.

You can find more information about the program by attending one of the Information Nights, by downloading the brochure, or by contacting us by email or phone (see contact information below).

You can download and print the 2019-2020 Catechetical Coordinator Application and Recommendation Form shown below.  There is a $40 non-refundable application fee.

Catechetical Coordinator Application

Catechetical Coordinator Recommendation Form

Application Process

Applications are accepted through August 1st.  Early applications are encouraged.  Once an application, application fee, recommendation form, and a photocopy of your Baptism Certificate are received, you will be contacted for a personal interview.  Any late applications will be considered based on availability.

Catechetical Coordinator Certification, Renewal of Certification, or Ministerial Practicum

Refer to the Certification web page for detailed information.


Click on the links below for valuable resources:

Participant Handbook-Catechetical Coordinator Program

Documents of the Second Vatican Council

USCCB Laity, Marriage, Family, Life, and Youth

General Directory for Catechesis

National Directory for Catechesis (hard copy only)

On Catechesis in Our Time (Catechesi Tradendae)

For More Information

Please contact Michelle Shaffer, Associate Director of the Institute for Pastoral Leadership, University of Saint Mary of the Lake, at mshaffer@usml.edu or  847-970-4926.