An evaluation of the organizational effects in parishes of diocesan-sponsored catechist formation courses

David Anthony Sork, Fordham University


The purpose of the study was to evaluate the organizational effects in parishes of diocesan-sponsored catechist formation courses. The two areas of concentration were qualities of faith and organizational commitment. Specifically, it evaluated whether those catechists who had taken catechist formation courses (certified catechists) gave evidence of a greater development of qualities of faith and a deeper commitment to the Catholic Church, the local parish, and the parish's catechetical program than those who had not taken the course (noncertified catechists). The courses which the catechists had taken part in were 60 hours in length and offered in both English and Spanish. They were conducted by certified master catechists under the auspices of the Archdiocesan Office of Religious Education. The study took place in 25 randomly selected parishes out of the 284 parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. From those parishes, 432 catechists were surveyed and tested by means of the Catholic Faith Inventory, the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire, and a Catechist Survey. The study involved both English-speaking (N = 330) and Spanish-speaking (N = 102) catechists. In the overall score and in all areas of the Catholic Faith Inventory and in the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire, certified catechists registered significantly higher scores than noncertified catechists. At the same time there were no significant differences between English-speaking and Spanish-speaking catechists in any of the categories. Moreover, certified catechists remained in the ministry for a longer period of time, spent more time in the ministry, dedicated more hours to their ongoing education and formation, and were more likely to be involved in other activities in the parish as well. The effects of catechist formation courses are such that its approach is applicable not only to the formation of catechists but to other programs of ministerial formation. The greater understanding and appreciation of one's faith, the sense of community in the learning process, and the commitment of time in the formation process effect a greater loyalty to one's Church and parish as well as a greater willingness to invest time to one's chosen ministry.

Subject Area

Religious education

Recommended Citation

Sork, David Anthony, "An evaluation of the organizational effects in parishes of diocesan-sponsored catechist formation courses" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8813585.