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Introduction to Catechetical Ministry for Children

  Archbishop’s Curia Refectory, Floriana
catechist

This course is intended to form and support catechists who wish to become better acquainted with the basic tenets of the Catholic Faith, in view of their service to the Christian community as a catechist.

By the end of this course, the learner will:
  • become acquainted with the main theological areas underlying catechetical ministry;
  • become equipped with essential practical skills needed in the service of catechetical ministry.

Applicants who are in possession of a Diploma (or higher) in Theology or Religious Studies are exempted from Module 1 Faith Foundations for Ministry.

Applicants who are in possession of an Award in Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults certificate are exempt from Module 3 Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults. In both cases, applicants are required to send a copy of their qualifications to [email protected] upon application. A formal email is sent to applicants once the qualifications are reviewed.

  • Catechists* who teach children and adolescents.

Catechists who do have a qualification in theology may opt out of attending Module 1: Faith Foundation for Ministry.

Target Audience Age: 18+

The course is made up of one asynchronous module and two blended modules:

Modules:
PFA4001Faith Foundations for Ministry1 Credit
PFA4003Faith Foundations for Ministry Seminars1 Credit
PFA4002Basic Themes in Catechetical Ministry for Children3 Credits
PFE4001Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults 1 ECTS

Module 1 – Faith Foundation for Ministry

This module offers a basic introduction to key themes of the main areas of Christian theology. These include fundamental, scriptural, dogmatic, ecclesiological, and ethical theological concepts guiding the evangelising mission of the Church.

By the end of the module the learner will have:
  • become aware of what the sources of theology are;
  • gained a basic understanding of the main areas of Christian theology.

Module 2 – Basic Themes in Catechetical Ministry for Children

This module will enable the participants to construct a holistic vision of the catechetical ministry which responds to contemporary needs. It will address various areas of knowledge and skills necessary for the formation of the catechetical minister. The formation will cover theoretical and practical aspects of basic catechetical principles, formation in catechetical methodology, recourse to the appropriate social sciences, meeting the needs of children with different social and or psychological needs, and lesson planning.

At the end of the module, the learner will have acquired the responsibility and autonomy to:
  • become aware of the call as a catechist and why this role is valuable within the Church; 
  • develop a thorough and holistic view of the different aspects which build up the core identity of the catechetical minister in the Church;
  • develop the ability to apply the basic principles acquired in the previous module (Module 1) to the specific catechetical field.
  • become acquainted with the main theological areas underlying catechetical ministry; 
  • become equipped with essential practical skills needed in the service of catechetical ministry 

Module 3 – Faith Foundation for Ministry Seminars

Module 4 – Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults

This short course will assist employees and volunteers who work with children and vulnerable adults or handle their data, to recognise the key principles of safeguarding and learn to create a safe environment for children, young people, and vulnerable adults.

The intended learning outcomes:

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  1. familiarise themselves with safeguarding policies
  2. understand the legal obligations with child abuse
  3. identify signs and symptoms of abuse
  4. know the disclosures of abuse
  5. identify the principles of safeguarding
  6. practice professional boundaries
  7. know their legal obligations related to the Protection of Minors (Registration) Act (2011) and the Minors Protection Act (2019)
  8. learn about the different types of abuse and poor practice
  9. understand a standard response to a disclosure of abuse
  10. be able to recognise signs of abuse
  11. identify the actions to take if you have a concern and who can help

Click here for more information on the Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults module.

Module 1 – Faith Foundation for Ministry

The first module of this course is made up of 7 recorded sessions.

Applicants will have access to this material on the PFI`s Moodle Portal. The module is delivered in short, recorded sessions which are each about 15 minutes long. The students will be provided with a username and a password so they can watch these sessions on their own device. The total number of minutes amounts to 8 hours.

Recorded Sessions
  • The Sacred Scriptures
  • The Scriptures, Tradition and Magisterium
  • The Christian doctrine of God of Jesus Christ
  • The Holy Spirit
  • The Church as the builder of the Kingdom of God 
  • The Meaning of the Sacraments and the Liturgy
  • The Catholic Social Teaching of the Church 

Module 2 – Basic Themes in Catechetical Ministry for Children

The second module of this course is made up of 3 in-person sessions and 9 recorded sessions. Recorded sessions will be available on the PFI`s Moodle Portal VLE platform, which participants can follow at their own pace.

In-Person Seminars

Saturdays between 9:30am – 12:00pm

DatesSeminar Titles
21st October 2023My Mission and Vocation as a Catechist
25th November 2023Understanding Those Whom We Accompany
20th January 2024The Digital Era & Catechesis: Practical Aspects
16th March 2024The Sacred Scriptures
20th April 2024The Catholic Social Teaching of the Church
Recorded Sessions
  • The Identity of Catechesis
  • The Catechists and their role in the Church
  • Jesus the Teacher
  • The five aspects of Catechesis
  • The Language of Catechesis
  • The Spirituality of the Catechist
  • Catechesis for children and adolescents with different conditions
  • Christian Initiation and Adult Catechesis
  • Lesson planning & Catechetical resources

Module 3 – Faith Foundation for Ministry Seminars

The third module of this course is made up of 2 in-person sessions.

In-Person Seminars

Saturdays between 9:30am – 12:00pm

DatesSeminar Titles
16th March 2024The Sacred Scriptures
20th April 2024The Catholic Social Teaching of the Church

Module 4 – Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults

The module is delivered over 5 contact hours. These 5 hours are delivered over two sessions:

  1. 3 hours – In-person session
  2. 2 hours – recorded material which can be accessed on the PFI`s Moodle Portal.

Students will also be given additional reading material they can read in their own time.

In-Person Session: Saturday 17th February 2024 between 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Click here for more information on the Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults module.

Assessment: 

This course has two exit certificate options: 

  1. Certificate of Participation 
  • attend all in-person seminars;
  • pass the short multiple-choice online exams (per module); 

2. Certificate of Achievement 

To obtain a Certificate of Achievement, students need to: 

  • attend all in-person seminars;
  • pass the short multiple-choice online exams (per module); 
  • and successfully complete a written assignment (per module);

Final Awards: Introduction to Catechetical Ministry & Award in Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults

Teaching Institution/s: Pastoral Formation Institute in collaboration with Lifelong Catechesis, and Safeguarding Commission

Duration:  5 months part-time (35 hours)

To obtain a Certificate of Achievement a student must: attend a minimum of 80% of each module and Pass successfully the assignment

  • Applicants who have an MQF/EQF level 4 (or higher) in Theology or Religious Studies, or have a General Education Award in Evangelisation, will be exempted from Module 1 Faith Foundation for Ministry. Applicants are required to send a copy of their qualifications to [email protected] upon application. A formal email is sent to applicants once the qualifications are reviewed.
  • Applicants who have an Award in Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults certificate are exempt from Module 3 Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults. Applicants are required to send a copy of their qualifications to [email protected] upon application. A formal email is sent to applicants once the qualifications are reviewed.
Digital competences:

Applicants are required to have basic computer literacy, mainly the knowledge of how to access and use an internet browser and use a word processor

Language competences:
The student is required to have at least an end-of-primary school level of understanding of Maltese and English.

Art and Faith: The Way of Beauty

The Allegory of the Triumph

“Christian art offers the believer a theme for reflection and acts as an aid to enter into contemplation in intense prayer, similar to a moment of catachesis…”

Pontifical Council for Culture, the ‘Via Pulchritudinis’, 2006, III.2C

Over time and across cultures, humans have always sought to express the ineffable – those phenomena and mysteries which, for centuries, have captivated man’s imagination.

What mysteries do their creations, in turn, conceal?

What may this incredible artistic heritage reveal about the evolution of human thought, belief, and the manner in which man related and reacted to the natural world and beyond?

Moreover, what insights, as Christians, may we attain and contemplate today, from a twenty-first-century perspective?

The course seeks to explore and address these questions by delving deeply into different forms of expression—religious or otherwise—and the myriad of ways these may be engaged with theologically.   

Course Aim:
  • to provide different tools to “read” into works of art and engage with them on a profound iconological, theological, philosophical, and cultural level; 
  • to re-evaluate the role of art and ritual within religious practice and experience; 
  • to present the story and evolution of art in relation to core Christian beliefs, dogmas and values; 
  • to hone observational and critical thinking skills in the encounter with different forms of art; 
  • to encourage the use of the imagination and the contemplation of art as a method of prayer; 
  • to gain confidence in approaching familiar or previously unknown artworks, reflecting upon them and bringing them into discourse among peers; 
Currently, enrolment is not open for this course. For further information contact us on [email protected]

People who wish to enrich their spirituality by learning how to read and meditate artworks

Introduction to the Course: Encounters with Beauty
Creation : Origins of Beauty

“When we contemplate with wonder the universe in all its grandeur and beauty, we must praise the whole Trinity.”

(St John Paul II, Catechesis).

With a particular emphasis on Genesis, we will explore ways in which ideas on art and beauty might emerge through a reflection on the first (and most recent) encounters of creation and humanity. 

Creation : The Matter of Beauty

In this lecture, we will seek to address questions on the relation between matter and beauty, on how matter may positively serve as a means of expressing and thinking about the divine.  

Spatial Encounters: Sacred and Secular

What do the terms ‘sacred’ and ‘space’ mean, and how do these meanings change when the terms are brought together? How are the senses and matter key players in identifying and animating sacred space? In this session, we will explore the origins and some of the earliest manifestations of sacred space. 

Spatial Encounters: Locations and Orientations 

How do sacred spaces interact with the landscapes in which they are located? What role do notions of design, geometry, cosmology, and technology, play in the construction and memorialisation of sacred spaces? Which parts of our domestic and communal spaces have the potential to participate in the sacred?  

Spatial Encounters: The Temple 

In this session, we will consider the Biblical roots to sacred space, the transition and cross-cultural adaptations in Judeo-Christian and Classical public, private and religious space.   

Origin, Matter and Spirit

Visit to St Agatha Catacombs, Rabat

Spatial Encounters: Adorning and Adoring 

What are the ways in which space could be prepared and adorned for the encounter with the divine? In this session, we will explore some early Christian and medieval sacred spaces, their architecture, and decoration as a reflection of the main beliefs and practices animating the encounter with the sacred.  

The Body: Embodying the Divine 

How can consider the human body as a category of analysis in the discourse on beauty? In this session, we will explore notions on how the body may be envisioned as a temple or as a sacred space.  

Sacred Space

Site Visit to St John`s Co-Cathedral

The Body: Becoming like the Divine

In this session, we will explore different ways of thinking about the relationship between icons and idols, particularly in light of Christian doctrine, apologetics, and theology. 

Violent Encounters: Worship and Destruction

In this session, we will address issues concerning iconoclastic reactions to the figurative representation of the divine and how violence and destruction may inform our notion of beauty, religious practice, and worship. A special focus will be given to Eastern Christianity, art, and architecture. 

Violent Encounters: Reconciling Beauty: the crucifix 

In this session, we will take a look at the central image, Eikon, of Christianity: the Crucified Christ, and how the portrayal of suffering—especially as expressed in Western religious imagery—may evoke a spirit of empathy and transformation in the beholder. 

Violent Encounters: Memory and Remembrance 

In this session we will consider the memorialisation of political violence through sacred (or pseudo-sacred) art, taking the city of Valletta as a departure point to reflect on the making of political, corporate, religious, and cultural identities.  

Violent Encounters

Visit Valletta Streets

Violent Encounters: Revelation of Beauty

In this conclusion, we will reflect on how the rhetoric of violence, as expressed through the arts, may afford a unique space to contemplate central Christian notions concerning redemption, salvation, fraternal and divine love.  

Half-day retreat with class suggestions, class presentations and group reflection  
Last Lecture: Class suggestion 
Session Format
  • Fourteen lectures on Tuesdays between 17:30 and 19:30 (28 hours) with audio-visual presentations, complemented by group discussions and sharing based on individual observation and contemplation.
  • Three Saturday Site Visits (9 hours) – in-person on site
  • Half-Day Seminar (5 hours)
Currently, enrolment is not open for this course. For further information contact us on [email protected]
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Introduction to the Course: Encounters with Beauty
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Creation: Origins of Beauty
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Creation: The Matter of Beauty 
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Spatial Encounters: Sacred and Secular 
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Spatial Encounters: Locations and Orientations 
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Spatial Encounters: The Temple 
Saturday 10:00-13:00Origin, Matter, and Spirit: Site Visit – St Agatha Catacombs, Rabat
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Art as Sacrifice: sacrificial origins of artistic practice
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Spatial Encounters: Adorning and Adoring 
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30The Body: Embodying the Divine
Saturday 10:00-13:00Sacred Space: Site Visit – St John’s Co-Cathedral 
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30The Body: Becoming like the Divine
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Violent Encounters: Worship and Destruction 
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Violent Encounters: Reconciling Beauty: the crucifix 
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Violent Encounters: Memory and Remembrance
Saturday 10:00-13:00Violence: Site Visit – Valletta Streets
Tuesday 17.30 – 19.30Violent Encounters: Revelation of Beauty
Saturday 9:00 –14:00Half-day retreat with class presentations and group reflection  

Assessment: 

  • (optional) a reflective journal, based on the prayerful contemplation of selected artworks; 
  • (compulsory): Based on a local work of art, sculpture or space, or an artistic work of their own making (literary/visual/audio-visual/music/film/etc), students will be asked to deliver a 15 to 20-minute class presentation on how the chosen work(s) might help “expand our gaze and ideas” on beauty, both in an aesthetic and theological sense.  While the presentation is intended to give the student an opportunity to elaborate further on one of the main themes touched upon in class, according to their own interests and artistic preference. It is also an opportunity to share ideas as well as receive feedback from peers. The students will also be encouraged to submit their work in written format (approx 2500 words). 

Final Award: Certificate in The way of Beauty: Discovering Faith through Art

Duration: One-year part-time course with two modules

Certification: A sealed Certificate after successful* completion of the course

To obtain a Certificate of Achievement a student must: attend a minimum of 70% of each module and Pass successfully the assignment

Every application will be considered on its individual merits. The Pastoral Formation Institute accepts a wide range of qualifications, and we always try to judge applications on the basis of academic potential. We do consider a very wide range of academic, vocational, and professional qualifications, as well as work and other appropriate experiences and skills.