Our All-Embracing Vision to Serve the Church

There are many avenues through which catechists can get formal training. Our principal training vehicle, Franciscan at Home, draws together the best of the Franciscan University Catechetics Program, the St. John Bosco Conference, and the latest in online education. There also are opportunities for homeschool families, online graduate studies, and more from Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Franciscan at Home

Online Learning at Your Convenience

The Institute’s collection of offerings includes workshops for general catechists, parish catechetical leaders, RCIA directors and teams, Catholic school teachers, youth ministers, and campus ministers. The Institute also offers workshops for priests and deacons, formation for the ministry of parenting, skills development for those in pro-life ministry, and training in first proclamation for anyone engaged in aspects of evangelization and outreach. This makes available a rich and varied corpus of many hundreds of workshops spread across all these ministry areas, which can accessed by individuals, or used in any way a diocese wishes. Come explore!

Ministry Tracks

The Catechetical Institute has developed 12 distinct ministry tracks to meet a variety of catechetical needs. These tracks, however, are merely options. Dioceses are free to select any workshops from any track to add to any aspect of its existing certification programs, continuing education requirements, or adult formation outreach. Dioceses are also free to create their own track from the workshops offered within various pre-designed tracks.

Priestly Renewal (PR) Track

In reaching out to assist diocesan bishops and religious superiors, Franciscan University aims to provide a high-quality series of workshops for seminarians and priests desiring superlative, efficient, and pragmatic formation for their leadership roles in the new evangelization. We have developed means to help seminarians and priests explore authentically Catholic approaches to outreach, inculturation, and communicating the kerygma effectively with strong follow-up. The workshops available through this track provide seminarians and priests with deeper formation for missionary outreach and increase their ability to attune parish life to be truly outward-oriented centers of evangelization and discipleship. Undergirding this formation is the basic assumption that every man in Holy Orders is worth deep investment to foster excellence in that vocation, and that God’s grace and His Spirit can bring much from our poverty and weakness.

Ministry of Parenting (MP) Track

In his landmark document on family life, Familiaris Consortio, Pope St. John Paul II stated:

“The sacrament of marriage gives to the educational role the dignity and vocation of being really and truly a ‘ministry’ of the Church at the service of the building up of her members. So great and splendid is the educational ministry of Christian parents that St. Thomas has no hesitation in comparing it with the ministry of priests: ‘Some only propagate and guard spiritual life by a spiritual ministry: this is the role of the sacrament of orders; others do this for both corporal and spiritual life, and this is brought about by the sacrament of marriage, by which a man and a woman join in order to beget offspring and bring them up to worship God.’”

Working with this understanding, the Catechetical Institute views parenting as the critical catechetical role in the Church. Our desire is to help families in our challenging modern culture see God’s plan for the domestic church and the school of holiness it creates as the decisive element in bringing about a culture of life. The workshops in this track are not intended to result in any certification, but instead aim at a far more fundamental end: forming adults who know how to live a missionary life in marriage and judge nothing in life as great as the work of parenting toward sainthood and striving for spousal sanctity. To foster this, a great variety of pragmatic and imaginative workshops are offered by the Catechetical Institute as electives in every track and collected together in this track.

Catechist (CT) Track

Directed to any person engaged in teaching ministries at any level, this three-part comprehensive program offers spiritual, methodological, philosophical, and doctrinal topics essential to the teaching of the Catholic faith. Believing that the most significant factor in the catechetical endeavor is the individual catechist passing on the witness of a lived faith, this track aims to complement basic diocesan catechist certification. It does this by enriching in-diocese teaching with workshops designed to: 1) Take catechists to the next step in formation in key areas; 2) Address target areas needing strengthening in our current cultural context; and 3) Enable catechists to continue growing their skills and understanding in the years following completion of diocesan certification.

Parish Catechetical Leader (PCL) Track

This all-encompassing three-part series of workshops addresses the spiritual, catechetical, relational, and philosophical topics essential to leadership in parish catechetical programs. Whether a catechetical leader is tasked with ministry to adults, teens, children, or all three, the workshops in this track cover vital administrative skills, including recruitment and training of catechists, planning and evaluation of curriculum and programs, and managing pastoral and parental relationships. Additionally, this track addresses areas such as evangelization and its link to catechesis, catechetical program organization and assessment, working with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, serving those with special needs, and fostering the vocational discernment and spiritual formation of others.

Catechumenal Ministry (RCIA) Track

In cooperation with the Association for Catechumenal Ministry (ACM), this wide- ranging three-part track provides preparation for all those involved in assisting the conversion process of newcomers to the Catholic faith. It does this by focusing on the liturgical, catechetical, and pastoral elements essential to the evangelization and formation of those investigating and approaching our Church.

While presenting a systematic doctrinal foundation taken directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this track also includes a deep exploration of Scripture’s role in the conversion process, the centrality of the liturgical rites, the nature of teaching for conversion, the indispensable work of an RCIA team, the role of sponsors and godparents, the power of a balanced clergy-laity collaboration, and the importance of each of the stages of the catechumenal process. Workshops on evangelism, canon law, and the catechumenate for children and adolescents are also offered.

Catholic Schools (CS) Track

This series of workshops is aimed at assisting elementary teachers, high school teachers, and administrators understand the Catholic faith better and pass it on to students and their families. This track is designed to serve the real-world needs of teachers by: 1) Addressing practical and methodological classroom issues stemming from modern familial and cultural contexts; 2) Assessing ways to handle common doubts and questions among children and teens; and 3) Exploring how a classroom experience can be not only mind-growing, but truly soul-forming.

In this series, actual classroom lesson plans that incorporate different educational and catechetical techniques are illustrated. Workshops also introduce the concept of incarnational dynamism in classroom teaching. This consists in drawing the student to the Person of Jesus Christ (who is the content of all catechesis) through the use of contemporary and ancient sacred art, Christian and secular forms of music, popular and classical literature, film, and age-appropriate classroom activities. The aim in this track is form teachers to effectively witness to the Catholic faith in a manner that will engage students and foster genuine evangelization.

Culture of Life (CL) Track

The purpose of this three-part series of workshops is to help those working in diocesan pro-life or family life offices, as well as parish coordinators, health care workers, and employees or volunteers serving pro-life apostolates (i.e. crisis pregnancy centers, legal advocacy groups, and post-abortion healing ministries).

The demanding skill set needed for effective pro-life ministry draws from fields as diverse as health care, politics, formal theology, bioethics, counseling, sociology, catechetics, law, life sciences, and policy history. This track address all these and more, delving into related aspects of fostering a culture of life: the nature of human liberty in Catholic social teaching, the feminine genius, the masculine genius, evolution, environmental stewardship, service to the poor, outreach to those addicted, depressed, or those discarded by society, and the critical importance of prayer and spiritual combat to oppose the pervasive culture of death.

Pastoral Accompaniment (PA) Track

The primary audience of this three-part series of workshops is those working in any ministry setting—clergy or laity—whose interactions with others require mentoring skills, evangelical hospitality, ongoing pastoral interactions in the course of catechetical work, small group facilitation, parenting, nurturing, and intercessory prayer outreach. Anyone who has some degree of work in the care of souls can benefit significantly from these workshops.

This track is divided into three areas of emphasis in pastoral accompaniment: 1) Mentoring; 2) Spiritual Guidance; and 3) Counseling. Workshops in each of these areas are not designed for professional counselors, spiritual directors, or similar niche roles, but instead for those in more general catechetical or ministerial roles. This track’s diverse content is also applicable to every parent, every priest, and every parishioner who understands the demanding call upon all baptized believers to love generously and serve sacrificially.

Youth Ministry (YM) Track

This track, designed in cooperation with Life Teen, offers an efficient and in-depth two-part series of workshops to provide formation for youth ministers. It includes presentations that are practical, academic, theological, and spiritual, all while stressing that the most important factor in successfully evangelizing and discipling adolescents is the human one: the authentic witness and genuine love of those willing to invest in the spiritual growth of younger souls. This track also helps youth ministers affect families, who bear the primarily formative responsibility for children.

Campus Ministry (CM) Track

Campus ministry at today’s colleges and universities has become an immensely challenging endeavor. This track offers a two-part set of workshops designed to meet the unique needs of those tasked with ministering to young people during this transient and tumultuous time of life. At the heart of this track is a recognition that any effort to evangelize and make disciples of college students must start with a carefully formed Catholic worldview and a genuine missionary mindset. Workshops by veteran campus ministers explore the essential steps for developing and growing an effective campus ministry program that is attentive both to seekers and those needing deeper, ongoing spiritual growth. Attention is particularly given to achieving sustained long-term growth with college students, not just short-term gains.

First Proclamation (FP) Track

This track is intended for any individual—clergy or lay, active in ministry or not—who desires to develop the ability to proclaim the Gospel to others. Workshops in this two-part series address the critical content of the basic Gospel message; the historical ways in which it has been unfolded; the nature of conversion and faith development; the natural and necessary connection between evangelization and a deeper exploration of the faith; best practices in the field in a wide range of circumstances; skills development; the place of apologetics; specific avenues to evangelize families; and the need to be well-formed in the pastoral and spiritual aspects of outreach. A special feature of this track is a far-reaching series of interviews with many Catholics who are currently doing creative and effective evangelization work in a myriad of contexts.

Music Ministry (MM) Track

The influence of music in most people’s lives is profound. The Church’s long experience and wisdom also recognizes that music is a salvific tool, a gift of beauty arising from human talent and a supernatural charism that is often graced by God in order to aid and deepen conversion, draw forth repentance, foster spiritual peace, heighten worship, and stoke zeal. The workshops in this track offer an inclusive exploration of the Church’s vision for music ministry and the myriad practical ways it can be encouraged in ecclesial settings, wielded in formative experiences, and developed and matured in the lives of children, teens, and adults. Of particular focus is an open look at the relative value of various genres of Christian music in a modern setting and how preserving a vibrant Catholic family life from a pervasively acidic secular culture can be greatly aided by the gift of sacred sound.

A Complete Catechetical Formation

Catechetics Program

The Catechetics Program at Franciscan University is the largest in the country, and one of the finest in the world. We offer bachelor’s degrees in catechetics, online and on-campus master’s degrees in Catechetics and Evangelization (MACE), specializations in fields such as youth ministry and music ministry, diverse opportunities for field experience, and individual assistance with field placement. Our students graduate with the tools necessary to go forth and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in a way that is faithful to the Church and advances the Kingdom of God.

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Franciscan Fast-track

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Courses for high school and homeschool students available for all subjects from math to science, from literature to language, from theology to philosophy, and so much more. Franciscan University is committed to making available the best Catholic instructors at the most affordable price for the family budget, aimed at an educational formation that explicitly serves the new evangelization.

Online Degree Programs

Whether you are right out of high school, right in the middle of your life, or right about ready to try a new direction or a next step, Franciscan University has programs that meet you where God has you. Franciscan offers online associate’s and master’s degrees in theology, philosophy, education, and catechetics. On campus, we also offer a full spread of 39 undergraduate majors, and seven master’s programs. Our graduates are prepared to “cast out into the deep” and bring the light of Christ to the ends of the earth.

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Priestly Vocational Formation

The Priestly Discernment Program (PDP), part of the bachelor’s degree experience at the University, helps men to grow in holiness and listen for the “still, small voice” of a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. The University is also seeking to develop an Institute for Priestly Renewal (IPR), a summer residency program for seminarians and priests that would reach out to assist diocesan bishops and religious superiors to provide a high-quality curriculum for clergy desiring superlative, efficient, and pragmatic formation for their leadership roles in the new evangelization.


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Steubenville, OH 43952 USA

About the Catechetical Institute

The Catechetical Institute at Franciscan University exists to train and support the key catechists in any situation—priests, deacons, parents, or laity, whether professional or volunteer. Through conferences, online workshops, videos, audio, personal mentorship, and a wealth of resources produced by Franciscan University, all involved in the work of catechesis will find new ideas, new approaches, new techniques, and a new confidence to do the work of catechesis.