Certification and Continuing Education

The Diocese of Erie recognizes four levels of leadership within the religious education community. Each level has a distinct title. These titles are directly related to the amount of formal education and/or training and experience the individual has obtained to perform the role of religious education leader. Formal education is used as the criteria because it is both objective and verifiable.

Advanced Degree Program Information:  The department maintains a relationship with the Pastoral Studies Department at Gannon University for those interested in pursuing an advanced degree in religious education.

Catechist Formation

Spiritual Formation

In addition to the Spiritual Formation days that are offered each year, the Department of Religious Education hosts an annual retreat. This is an opportunity to build community with other diocesan leaders, to spend some time in reflection and to re-center yourself in God's care.

Olmsted Manor Retreat Center
Video - Geri Hadlock invites you to our retreat
Video - Terri Clarkson invites you to our retreat


It is important that we strive constantly to grow in wisdom and grace. As members of the teaching ministry of the Church charged with facilitating people’s love of Christ and his Gospel we must be living witnesses of learning and formation. Calling others to this journey of faith requires that we remain faithful to the calling ourselves.

The Department of Religious Education offers leaders opportunities for continuing education and spiritual formation during the year so that we might all stay faithful to our calling.

Silo'am Process:  The department sponsors a formation program for religious education leaders based on the National Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers. This program is called Silo'am.

Parish Data Systems

Click on the "PDS tips and support" link below for a list of downloadable PDF documents designed to help you use the Parish Data System, as well as information for PDS support.

PDS tips and support


Reference materials Catechist Magazine:  If you don’t have a subscription to "Catechist," check with your parish religious education leader. Don't miss these Catechist.com topics:
  • For tips on using the magazine — In the Catechist.com menu, choose About, then choose Ways to Use Catechist Magazine.
  • Catechist Keyboard — activities found in the current issue of "Catechist.”
  • Feeding My Soul – prayer for catechists
  • Craft Clip –Using ordinary household items in crafts and other activities
  • From the Field – Ideas from other catechists
CyberFaith:  CyberFaith is a series of web links on a wide variety of topics and interests to Catechists. Sponsored by Sadlier.

Alive in Christ:  Catechist Enrichment Resources — Articles for personal enrichment under Signs of the Times and Digging Deeper and activities for Feasts & Seasons, Social Justice, Spirituality, Prayer

The Lives of the Saints – Downloadable activities and the story of a new saint each month.

Catholic Catechist:  Under Public Session, click on Free Files.

Reflections on Contemporary Music:  Fr. Mike can help you stay up-to-date with the music your kids are listening to. Check out his constantly evolving Top 10 list.

Faith First: 

Catechists and Teachers
  • Personal Enrichment — Ask an Expert, Catechist Prayer and more.
  • Lesson Resources —Chapter Downloads and Online Lesson Planning
  • Background Resources — Tour of a Church, Bible Stories, Saints Correlation
Catechist Resources section
  • Practical ideas for each month of the year.
  • A section on How Children Learn, with suggestions and examples for teaching children who have different learning styles.
    • Links to other sites of Catholic interest.
Text and web resources for senior high

Renewing the Vision In 1976, the bishops issued their seminal document A Vision of Youth Ministry, combining the best of Catholic traditions with emerging ideas from Church leaders across the nation. Two decades later, confronted by the challenges of an ever-changing world, the bishops enlarged that vision with the publication of Renewing the Vision. This volume provides all who minister to young people with an effective blueprint for building a truly meaningful ministry, centered on three important goals: to empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ; to draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Church; and to foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person.

Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture by Walt Mueller – IVP Books – 2006 – this is a serious but readable book about culture and its impact on young people. If you want some insight into why kids are the way they are this is a good first step.

You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church…and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman – Baker Books -2011-

National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministers – The NFCYM Mission Statement is: “To serve those who serve the young Catholic Church.”  Be sure to checkout the “Resources” area for helpful information. Be sure to check out the NFCYM Store for resources.

The National Initiative for Adolescent Catechesis - The Partnership for Adolescent Catechesis has carefully crafted a bold and comprehensive seven-year, eight-step process of transformation.

Useful Links – some blog links you may find helpful.