Online Program Provides Flexibility and Faith Formation
Teachers, catechists and their students benefit
Victoria Ryan has been a volunteer catechist for decades. She took traditional classes to learn about teaching the faith and has been working to pass on the Catholic faith ever since. At her local parish, St. Julie Billiart, she teaches 6th graders on Sundays.
In 2017, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati released a new online platform for teachers and catechists to keep up to date on their religion teaching certification. The program is called Vocare, which means “Called to Teach.” This web-based platform was designed and launched with funding from the One Faith, One Hope, One Love capital campaign. The classes involve several forms of media, including instructional videos, graphics, music, and reading material.
“I didn’t expect to like it,” said Ms. Ryan, referencing her concern when she started the program more than a year ago. “Now I really look forward to the next lesson.” The program has also helped to enhance her own faith development, and she is hopeful that others are experiencing the same growth. “The program provides practical tips on teaching, but what I find most valuable is how it focuses heavily on the content we are teaching,” said Ms. Ryan. “Even after 12 years of Catholic schooling, ongoing adult faith formation is very important, and this is a great tool for that.”
Also included in the Vocare platform is content focused on the Theology of the Body. “I found the Theology of the Body content very informative and eye opening,” said Ms. Ryan. “I’m very impressed with just how much content is available.”
It was an adjustment for some teachers and catechists to transition to the web-based learning program, but after the first year of use, organizers are confident that more and more users will become comfortable with the platform. “We have heard feedback from users that once they get over that initial shock of coming into online learning, they actually enjoy the flexibility and convenience of completing courses at home,” said Andrea Patch, who manages the curriculum for Vocare at the Archdiocese.
“Over the years, we’ve heard feedback from our teachers and catechists, asking that our catechetical certification process be reformed, and Vocare was our response here in the Archdiocese,” said Ms. Patch. “We have spent two years building a program that remains faithful to Church teachings, but is more flexible for busy lifestyles, and more affordable for schools and parishes.”
Currently, more than 3,400 users are active on the Vocare system. An increase in users is expected with the start of the new school. To assist new users, support is provided by Vocare staff members at the Archdiocese. For more information or questions about Vocare, call 513-421-3131 or email VocareSupport@CatholicCincinnati.org.
Go To News Story Archives