Hearts Aflame Catechist Formation Program
What is Hearts Aflame?
Hearts Aflame is an adult faith and ministries formation program founded on Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Hearts Aflame Program enables adults to deepen their knowledge of the faith and prepare to exercise a variety of ministries in the life of the Church.
Our vision is to help adults, youth, and children to live in communion and intimacy with Jesus Christ through lifelong catechesis for discipleship in and through the Catholic Church. To do this the Office for Religious Education promotes:
- Life long catechesis for discipleship
- Effective stewardship of human resources
- Enhancement and strengthening of Hispanic catechetical efforts for the growing Hispanic presence in the Archdiocese
- Strategic catechetical planning in parishes and schools and the
- skills necessary to accomplish this effectively for parish catechetical leaders
- Comprehensive formation of catechists
2010-2011 Hearts Aflame: Faith & Ministries Formation Program
Hearts Aflame offers the following courses in both English and Spanish for all interested adults throughout the Archdiocese:
- Christian Prayer (8 hours)
- Catechetical Methodology (12 hrs)
- Christian Morality (12 hours)
- Sacraments (12 hours)
- Creed (12 hours)
- Introduction to Sacred Scripture (16 hrs)
Policy for Certifying Catholic School and Parish Catechists
Policy 1.1 of the Religious Education Policy Manual states that "Every parish catechist and Catholic school teacher of religion is required to achieve certification according to the Archdiocesan Faith Formation Program."
Parish catechists and Catholic school teachers of religion need to be theologically prepared, skilled in the methods of religious education and firmly committed to the faith of the Church. Hence catechists are entitled to a careful and thorough preparation for their teaching ministry. Educational workshops, courses, learning resources and teacher meetings shall be provided and funded by the parish on a regular basis.
Description of Requirements
Since 1997, Archdiocesan certification of parish catechists and elementary school religion teachers (henceforth "catechists") has been offered through the Hearts Aflame Faith and Ministries Formation Program. To be certified, a catechist must complete or be exempted from the Hearts Aflame Core Courses: Sacraments, Prayer, Morality, Introduction to Scripture, and Creed. In addition to the Core Courses, catechists must complete the Specialization Course entitled Ministry of Catechesis. Note that there is no assessment for this course.
The Archdiocese of Washington promotes the following methods to certification:
- Live Hearts Aflame courses
- Online Free Assessments
- Live EPS courses
- Online courses through the University of Dayton Virtual Learning Communities of Faith Formation (VLCFF)
- Other options (see Policy Booklet)
Catechists in Catholic Schools and Parishes receive their Certification upon the completion of these six courses totaling 70 hours of formation.
Upon completion of the certification requirements, catechists will be notified and invited to attend the certification ceremony that is held during the Archdiocesan Catechetical Day (held every other year in Oct/Nov). Those unable to attend will receive their certificates in the mail.
Call the Office for Catechesis at 301-853-5385 or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to obtain a catechist certification status report for all your catechists.
Scale of Fees
The Hearts Aflame course fee is $20 per participant. There must be a minimum of 12 participants to hold a course or the host site picks up the difference.
Hearts Aflame Core Course Assessments are available online free of charge at www.adw.org. Note that there is no assessment for Catechetical Methodology. The Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF) online courses cost $40 per participant. The Office for Religious Education will reimburse $20 upon the receipt of a passing certificate.
The Summer Institute
The Office for Religious Education sponsors an intense Summer Institute every two years during which all of the core courses and the specialization course are made available at various sites in English and Spanish. This is an excellent opportunity for catechists to take several courses towards certification. Other tracks on RCIA, Youth Ministry and Special Needs are also usually made available.