Master Catechist

What is a Master Catechist? 

According the California Catholic Conference Guidelines for Catechist Certification (2009), the Mission of Master Catechists in the Life of the Diocese, are to be extensions of the teaching office of the Bishop, and are selected and commissioned to:

A. Provide the specific formation and courses of studies and evaluations required by the diocese for catechists to obtain or renew a California Catechist Certificate;
B. Provide workshops and in-services for the continued growth and formation of catechists and Catholic School teachers;
C. To be willing to participate as a member of a catechetical leadership visioning team.

Bishop Soto’s strategic plan in the area of Lay Formation calls for “an increase in the number of Master Catechists” that “will allow the parishes to improve the quality of parish-based catechetical programs as well as expand opportunities for cradle-to-grave formation. The Diocese will have available a more accessible faculty of committed, competent Catholic catechists with whom to promote the on-going cultivation and training of catechists.”



Requirements to become a Master Catechist

  1. A current California Catechist Certificate;
  2. Proven expertise and recent experience in catechetical ministry at various age levels;
  3. An ability to communicate and work effectively with adult learners in a formation setting;
  4. The personal recommendation of the candidate’s pastor or other catechetical leader;
  5.  Evidence of ongoing education in: Theology, Catechesis, the teachings of the Church and Spiritual Development in light of Vatican II and post-conciliar documents.
  6.  Evidence of the ability to work in multi-cultural situations; An understanding of the purpose of the Master Catechist and a willingness to serve as such when certified;
  7. An ability to study at an advanced level.



  1. Exploratory conversations (potential candidate discusses master catechist certification opportunities with pastor and diocesan lay formation staff).
  2. Documentation (potential candidate provides documentation of advanced studies in theology, pastoral ministry or related fields to diocesan lay formation staff).
  3. Complete the Examination for Master Catechists (able to be taken once every 6 months)
  4. Observation (diocesan staff observes candidate teaching a faith formation class).
  5. Interview (OFFF Department Director and Lay Formation staff review candidates formation and teaching background, go over evaluation of observed class, and review concept and implications of Master Catechist Certificate).
  6. Pastor’s recommendation (will be requested by diocesan lay formation staff).