Parish Catechetical Leaders


Bishop James F. Checchio greets attendees of the Catechetical Conference held October 1, 2016, after Mass in the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center chapel.
(Mary Ann Giannone, photo)

The certification of all Parish Catechetical Leaders is one of the major goals of the Diocesan Office for Catechesis, in keeping with what the US Bishops are requiring of PCL’s in the National Directory for Catechesis (2005).  

Every PCL must be properly prepared, educated and formed to lead and inspire the people of their parish in the faith of Jesus Christ. Without training, theological knowledge and their own spiritual development, these tasks are impossible. The PCL is not a coordinator of programs, but rather, a visionary and role model who desires to bring all people into relationship with Jesus Christ.

In order to provide the people of God the best opportunities to grow more deeply in their faith, the Diocese of Metuchen has put in place diocesan standards of professional training and formation for PCL Certification.

The Diocesan certification standards for Parish Catechetical Leaders, is twofold:

FOUNDATIONS I was developed to provide PCLs training in the pastoral skills necessary to be a catechetical leader. Sessions are held at the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center in Piscataway and are offered every other year. Sessions are facilitated by seasoned, professional parish leaders who share their experience and knowledge of the realities of forming children, youth and adults in their faith. Next sessions will be held in 2020.

FOUNDATIONS II is the theological component necessary to be an effective PCL. Participants may choose from 3 options to fulfill this requirement:

Option 1 – online courses at the University of Dayton
Option 2 – undergraduate certification program at a Catholic college or university
Option 3 – Master's Degree in Theology, Religious Education or Pastoral Ministry

Learn more about the Parish Catechetical Leader Certification (PDF)


Once a PCL certification has been achieved and celebrated, all PCLs will be expected to renew their certification every 5 years. The Church, as a living evolving community, changes and grows as must the PCL. A PCL must stay current and find new ways to deepen the parish’s relationship with Jesus Christ through his/her own continuing formation, education and spiritual journey.

5 Year Re-certification Courses, a total of five University of Dayton courses including:

  • Sacraments
  • Introduction to Liturgy
  • Catholic Teaching on Chastity, Family Life, and Human Sexuality Education
  • Choose 2 additional courses that interest you and will be helpful to your ministry

For ongoing certification every 5 years, you may choose any 5 courses you have not already completed that interest you and will be helpful to your ministry. The following courses are highly recommended:

  • Communication and Community
  • Pastoral Approach to Culture
  • Disabilities in Parish Life: An Overview  

Every 5 years, your PCL re-certification will be acknowledged and celebrated.