Maryvale Certificate in Catechesis - Formation for Mission 

This is a two-year, distance-learning course leading to the Certificate in Catechesis.  It is intended for anyone seeking to learn more about their faith, as well as those looking for formation to equip them to work with children and adults in parishes, schools and families.


1. Authorisation

This course is authorised by the Archbishop of Birmingham and received approval from the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy in 1989.


2. Aims

  - Deepening knowledge of scripture, doctrine, liturgy, prayer and catechesis
  - Personal growth in faith and spirituality
  - Understanding of methods for communicating and sharing the faith effectively
  - Appreciation of the skills needed to deliver inspiring catechesis


3. The Value of Distance Learning

The particular method of learning and teaching which has been developed by the Maryvale Institute is based on the Open University’s distance-learning methodology, so as to enable laity, religious, and clergy to study and undertake formation in the context of their own lives, family commitments, and work. Students study each module at home, at their own pace, actively taking on the responsibility for their own learning, but with support always available.


4. Entry Requirements

This course in catechesis is open to any adult who would like to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their faith so that they can confidently hand it on to others, either formally as catechists or informally as parishioners. 


5. Commitment needed

Students need to be prepared to devote time and energy to study.  For some students this is likely to be spent in blocks of work, others spread it out throughout the week.  The value of this type of learning is that it fits into students’ busy lives.


6. Structure and outline

Work is based upon study of the course books, with sections of the Scriptures, Catechism and Vatican II documents as key sources.  Seminars and workshops at two study days each year give additional input, and webinars are available for each module for students to view at home. Eight modules are studied either over two years or as two discretestages – Part I and Part II – which can take longer.  There is an FE retreat day at Maryvale each year to offer spiritual support and it is possible to study the course by Independent Study for those who cannot attend study days due to personal circumstances or distance.


1styear (Part I):     Formation in faith

                                 Jesus the Christ

                                 Introduction to Church history

                                 The Church        

2ndyear (Part II):   Sacred Scripture

                                 Liturgy and Sacraments

                                 Life in Christ - Catholic moral teaching:

                                 Ways of praying


7. Course content

A course book is providedfor each module forming a comprehensive introduction to the main areas of the Catholic faith over the duration of the course.  The course books introduce the student to the particularsubject and stimulate thinking and reflection by posing questions and review exercises.  The course books also indicate further reading, particularly the Scriptures, the Catechism, the General Directory for Catechesis, and the documents of the Second Vatican Council, but also wider reading if time allows. A key component of the course is the practical aspect of catechesis so all themodules include content which draws on and develops good catechetical practice thus the study of the faith is always in the context of passing it on in whatever situation students find themselves.


8. Assessment

Methods of Assessmenthave been devised to bring about a positive appreciation of the work accomplished as well as helping to hone understanding and catechetical skills. An assignment is submitted at the end of each moduleto Maryvale, with copies retained by the student for their ownrecords


  - Essays - of approximately 1,500 words, articulating what the student has learned from their reading


  - Session plans, on an aspect of the subject Thisis to show how the student would deliver faith formation to adults or children.


All assignments are sent to Maryvale electronically and are readby an Academic tutor whoencourages the student, makes suggestions and sets targets for development.  There is no written or oral examination.  All assessment is modular. Once assessed, assignments are returned to the student.

9. Student support

Maryvale provides a unique system of support for students through its method of distance learning including:


  - Course books. These are also referred to as modules. There are four per year to be worked through at your ownpace, contacting the FE Director at any time if you have questions arising from your reading.


  - Study days are held twice a year. Students participate in seminars, and meet with Maryvale staff and other students to discuss the course and share experiences.  Students are also encouraged to exchange contact details and keep in touch with each other between study days.  Refreshments and lunch are provided at these days, and Mass is celebrated.


  - Webinars are available for each module which students can watch in the comfort of their own homes for additional input, and there are also monthly tutorial webinars connecting MCC students in all the different parts of the world where we deliver the course.


  - The FE Director at Maryvale provides you with encouragement, support and advice. Contact can be made by Skype, FaceTime, telephone or e-mail help will be provided for any study questions.


  - Academic tutors receive your assignments, comment helpfully on your work and grade it.


10. Essential books needed throughout the course are:

  - The Holy Bible.
  - The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  - Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents,Volume 1, edited by Austin Flannery O.P. (Dominican Publications, 1998) or online at


12. Application and Fees

Details of course fees can be found on the Maryvale website under ‘Study with us’, where you will also find a link to the Institute policy on the payment of fees. The Institute regulations and the complaints policy and procedures can also be found on the Maryvale website under “About”. Application forms for the courseshould be completedplease and returned to the FE Admin Team at the Maryvale Institute with:


  - The Parish Priest’s consent form
  - The student data consent form
  - The registrationfee of £25.00. (cheques made payable to Maryvale Institute)


13. Further details


Study days will be set up in collaboration with the local partners


If you have any questions about the course, please contact the FE Programme Director at Maryvale - the FE Admin team -  Telephone: 0121 3608118


14. Further study

The Maryvale Certificate in Catechesis (MCC) course may be the first stage of a longer process of study through Maryvale.  Many students continue their studies by progressing to one of our degree courses, such as the Bachelor in Divinity or Philosophy. Others stay at FE level and study Scripture, the Catechism, or the teaching of Pope Francis in more depth, or specialise with the courses in Parish Mission and Ministry or Catholic Healthcare Chaplaincy.  Some, who already have a first degree, opt to do postgraduate studies at Masters or even PhD level.  Whatever happens in the future we know from the feedback of countless students that  all will have a truly positive experience on the MCC course that will deepen their faith and enrich their lives.


Help to cover the cost can be available from Living our Faith Fund.


Download Programme (pdf)


Here is what past students are saying

“Undertaking study through the Maryvale Catechesis course has been of huge value... Studying Church documents explains our faith in a way I have never experienced before, giving me a few "light bulb" moments. There are challenges too, but the course tutors are extremely patient and always keen to offer help and support. I thoroughly recommend the course as a way to learn more about our faith in fellowship with other Catholics.”


“I have found the Maryvale Certificate in Catechesis to be a blessing... This course does need determination and commitment to complete twelve essays, each of between 1200 to 1500 words. This may seem a lot at first glance but with the course material provided in a module, and the recommended reading clearly given, knowing what to leave out was more of an issue. Excellent course tutors [were] guiding us on what to focus on and also being supportive, encouraging and patient... Two years I thought would be a long time but here I am at the end of the course!”


“Having undertaken the course it has enriched my faith journey enormously. It has opened up to me the treasures of the Catholic faith and Catechism. It has aided the formation of my spiritual life, made me more confident in talking about my faith to others and I would not hesitate to recommend this course to others.”


“Found the course excellent. I have now joined the Confirmation group and feel confident to participate in this. Having knowledge and confidence has led me to talking to lapsed Catholics and encouraging them to return to church even if it’s only one event. I also find it helpful for the bereavement group that I am part of in the church, but am hoping to use it in other areas once my confidence gets stronger.”


“I thoroughly enjoyed doing the Maryvale Certificate in Catechesis. It helped to deepen my faith. I am currently a catechist for the young people preparing for Confirmation. I now feel much more confident when attempting to answer their questions and if I don't know the answer I at least now know where I might be able to find it. I am also a chaplains' assistant at Hospital. Since doing the course I feel more confident when people ask me probing questions about the Catholic Church and I feel more confident in my own beliefs.”


“I have been a student of this course for the last 2 years and have found it invaluable. On a personal level it has helped me to develop my spirituality and has deepened my faith and my knowledge of Scripture and the Church’s teachings. It has also helped me to better understand the Popes encyclicals. On a parish level I am involved in marriage preparation and it has helped me to feel more confident in my responses to others about the Church’s teachings and to know where to look for help. As a result of being on the course I now feel equipped to be further involved in the evangelisation mission of our parish. I would recommend the course to others who wish to deepen their faith.”


The study days for this course will take place at St Edward the Confessor, Chandler’s Ford on the following dates: Saturday 27th October 2018, Saturday 9th February 2019 and Saturday 4th May 2019.



To find out more details and to register, contact Sr Veronica Brennan: maryvale @


Sr Hyacinthe Defos du Rau OP, Dominican Sisters of St Joseph, St Dominic’s Priory, Shirley Holms Road, Lymington, SO41 8NH. Tel. 01590 681 874. email: ffm @

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