Online, independent, self-paced, continuing education, non-credit courses in Theology

All professions require some form of continuing education to allow professionals to keep up-to-date on the latest developments in their fields. Saint Joseph’s College of Maine Online Theology Programs offer continuing education units for those engaged in Catholic ministry. These courses provide opportunities for ongoing professional development in a variety of ministries.

For the catechist and Catholic school teacher

The Catechism for Catechists is an online non-credit course that provides intellectual formation for catechists and can serve ideally as the doctrinal component for any diocesan catechist certification program. For those serving as parish catechists or teaching the Catholic faith in the Catholic school system, as well as those interested in general adult faith formation, it enables students to develop an understanding and appreciation of the Catholic faith.

For the lay ecclesial minister

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine has partnered with the Catholic Apostolate Center to develop a variety programs for the New Evangelization to assist pastoral leaders in deepening collaboration with one another and provide formation and apostolic opportunities.

For the human resource professional working in the Church

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine has partnered with the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators (NACPA) to offer CEUs that qualify for recertification credits from HRCI and SHRM. Webinars are facilitated through the Catholic Apostolate Center.


If you have any questions regarding any of these programs, please contact Carmina Chapp at

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The Catechism for Catechists Certificate

Catechism for Catholic Church content on a laptop screenThe Catechism for Catechists Certificate provides intellectual formation for catechists and can serve as the doctrinal component for diocesan catechist certification programs. For those serving as parish catechists or teaching the Catholic faith in the Catholic school system, as well as those interested in general adult faith formation, it enables students to develop an understanding and appreciation of the Catholic faith.

Learning Outcomes

To understand and articulate the foundations of Catholic Doctrine
To be able to converse on matters of Sacred Scripture
To differentiate between missions and natures of the Trinity and the Church
To explain the Liturgy and the Sacraments
To discern the different aspects of Catholic Spirituality
To understand and articulate Catholic moral teaching.

The Certificate is offered over a six-month period beginning in October. The course is divided into six units, with a multiple-choice self-assessment quiz for each unit. Students can take the self-assessment multiple times before proceeding to the next unit when a satisfactory grade is reached.

Ideally, groups of participants will meet locally on a monthly basis to discuss the content of each unit. Individual students may also participate. Throughout the course, an online instructor is available to answer any questions students may have regarding the material.

The thoroughness of the course content allows The Catechism for Catechists Certificate to replace a multitude of catechetical courses, with each lesson able to stand on its own as a mini-course.

Cost per course: $110

Partnership discounts apply – check to see you your diocese or institution is an Educational Partner of Saint Joseph’s College.

Register Now

Program Overview

Unit 1: Foundations of Catholic Doctrine
Lesson 1: Divine Revelation and Its Sources
Lesson 2: Catholic Worldview and the Role Faith Plays in the Church

Unit 2: Sacred Scripture
Lesson 3: Old Testament: Major Themes, Key Figures/Events
Lesson 4: New Testament: Major Themes, Key Figures/Events

Unit 3: The Trinity and the Church
Lesson 5: The Trinity: Mission, Nature and Role
Lesson 6: The Church: Mission, Nature and Role

Unit 4: Liturgy and Sacraments
Lesson 7: Liturgy: Seasons, Calendar and the Eucharist as Source and Summit
Lesson 8: Sacraments: Initiation, Vocation and Healing

Unit 5: Catholic Spirituality
Lesson 9: Spirituality and the Tradition of Prayer
Lesson 10: The Life of Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer

Unit 6: Catholic Morality
Lesson 11: The Human Person, Beatitude, and the First Three Commandments; Freedom and Choice; Virtue and Vice
Lesson 12: Catholic Social Doctrine: The Family at the Heart of Society and the Christian Morality of Marriage; The Commandments: Five, Seven, Eight, and Ten

Required Texts

The required texts are the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, guaranteeing that the textbooks will never go out of print and will always be readily available, in print, or online at no cost. The courses link to both sources at the USCCB website.

A certificate is granted at the completion of the course.

Catholic Apostolate Center Courses

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine has partnered with the Catholic Apostolate Center to develop programs for the New Evangelization, assist pastoral leaders in deepening collaboration with one another, and provide formation and apostolic opportunities. To this end, we are excited to offer a series of continuing education units (CEU) for those in Catholic ministry.

In the spirit of Catherine McAuley and St. Vincent Pallotti, our Continuing Education Units offer practical, ministerial enrichment designed to enhance students’ professional work in ministry. Each course fosters a spirit of connectedness and nurtures spiritual growth through personalized instruction/consultation from an experienced instructor. These asynchronous courses facilitate learning through videos, discussion boards, and learning assessments which are practical and usable in the workplace. Students are accompanied by an instructor who will guide them through the material, participate in discussions, and offer feedback on assessments.

Recognizing that there are many choices in online programming for Lay Ecclesial Ministers and the Catholic adult learner, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine values students’ personal and professional demands by providing cost effective, self-paced 3-month courses. These CEUs are designed to be formative during optimal times of the academic year. Why? Because we believe in accompanying Catholics in their professional development with the intent on helping them enhance their ministry and “revive faith and rekindle charity.” This personalized, pastoral approach distinguishes these opportunities for professional development from others.

2020 Schedule

February 1 – April 30, 2020

  • TH 14 Catholic Political Responsibility
  • TH 33 Laity and Call to Joyful Witness
  • TH 34 Pope Francis and Evangelization
  • TH 36 Suffering: How to Accompany Others with Dignity
  • TH 37 Intentional Black Catholic Ministry

Cost per course: $110

Partnership discounts apply – check to see you your diocese or institution is an Educational Partner of Saint Joseph’s College.

Register for a course

Course Descriptions

TH 13 World Youth Day: The Mission Experience

For over 30 years, the Church invites its youth from all over the globe to celebrate their Catholic heritage at World Youth Day. Implemented by Pope Saint John Paul II, this unique pilgrimage affords youth opportunities “to examine their deepest aspirations, to heighten their sense of belonging to the Church, to proclaim their common faith in the crucified and risen Christ with increasing joy and courage” (World Youth Day VIII Message). This Continuing Education Unit presents materials on the role of missionary discipleship, the essential nature of accompaniment, and the importance of collaboration as the means to prepare communities for this special celebration with a specific emphasis on designing an Enrichment Opportunity featuring World Youth Day.

TH 14 Catholic Political Responsibility: Building the Kingdom of God

The American political climate is becoming more polarized. In the midst of this political tension, Catholics have a moral duty and baptismal responsibility to study the issues, pray, and vote based on conscience (c.f. Gaudium et spes, no. 75). The Church may not endorse specific candidates or political parties; it does, however, advise Catholics on core Catholic Social Teaching principles (e.g. human dignity, solidarity, care for common home) that may be addressed within specific local, state, and national issues.

This continuing education unit discusses Pope Francis’ call for Catholics to engage in missionary action to continue building the kingdom of God through an evangelizing presence and political engagement. Students will review the importance of the New Evangelization, understand how one’s call to be a missionary disciple affects one’s personal and public life, and develop a pastoral outreach media piece to help inform others on specific local, state, and national issues.

TH 16 Ministry & New Media

“Keeping the doors of our churches open also means keeping them open in the digital environment so that people, whatever their situation in life, can enter, and so that the Gospel can go out to reach everyone” (Pope Francis’ Message on XLVIII World Communications Day). Engagement in the 21st century requires knowledge about different media platforms and understanding how to leverage specific media to design ministry opportunities and build an online evangelization presence. Moving from maintenance to mission asks baptized Christians to collaborate with their communities in their outreach toward not only their religious community, but also the greater world.

TH 17 Marriage & Family Life

“Christian marriage is a genuine call from God which demands careful discernment, constant prayer and adequate growth and development,” notes the Synod of Bishops in Relatio Finalis (57). Marriage is the beginning of a journey, the journey of a couple together.

This course introduces participants to Church teachings exploring the role of marriage in modern society. Focus will be placed on how marriage is vocational and a place of evangelization. Participants will assess current parish programming for couples, engage in a sacred art application of 1 Corinthians 13, and produce an intergenerational evangelization audio-visual resource.

TH 23 Care for Our Common Home

From the beginning of Creation, God tasks humanity “to cultivate and care for” the Earth (Genesis 2:15). Humanity, therefore, receives the gift of stewardship. In this divinely appointed role, according to Pope Francis, “we can see God reflected in all that exists, [and] our hearts are moved to praise the Lord for all his creatures” (Laudato Si, 87). This stewardship role will be explored first through the missionary lens before investigating how it applies to the care for our common home. Participants will review the specific language of Laudato Si and discover a specific application to astronomy. Participants finally will design an Opus Laudis (Work of Praise) to discuss how they will put the teachings of Laudato Si into practice.

TH 24 Ministry & the Importance of Self-Care

Encouraged by Pope Francis’ invitation “to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, styles and methods of evangelization”, faith communities are embracing new, innovative ministry programs while revising current programming (Evangelii Gaudium, 33). This renewal of missionary vigor often leads to increased workloads, and self-care is usually the first personal item sacrificed. This Continuing Education Unit therefore begins with understanding the role of Lay Ecclesial Ministry and its challenges before delving into an exploration of the essential need for self-care. The main goal will be to develop proactive strategies to prevent burnout in a Personal Self-Care Plan.

TH 32 Encountering Neighbor: Hispanic and Latino Ministry

Waves of migrants and of refugees pose new challenges to faith-based communities. Keeping the greatest commandment, the Golden Rule, at the heart of ministry work may mean shifting and enhancing existing resources (Matthew 7:12). What if one’s neighbor does not speak the native language? Or, what if one’s neighbor has a culturally different approach to faith? Should these questions hinder any encounters? No. In fact, evangelization and education become more essential.

This Continuing Education Unit explores the importance of an evangelizing presence. Participants will investigate the importance of collaboration and the current cultural challenges specific to the Hispanic and Latino communities. At the conclusion of the unit, participants will reflect on their current ministry work using the See, Judge, Act Method (Mater et Magistra, No. 236).

TH 33 Laity and Call to Joyful Witness

Participants will understand the importance of participating in sacred liturgy and connect this participation to their missionary mandate to “go in peace to love and serve the Lord and one another” (Concluding Rites, USCCB). This course is designed in two units. This first unit centers on the Mass and specific faith community needs; the second showcases the New Evangelization and Pope Francis’ evangelization methods “to repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our time” (Gaudete et Exsultate, No. 2). A final audio assessment will be an opportunity for participants to address a specific ministry and reflect on its missionary outreach—its capacity to be a joyful witness.

TH 34 Pope Francis: Papacy and Evangelization

In an interview with America Magazine, Pope Francis commented, “Let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself” (“A Big Heart Open to God: An Interview with Pope Francis”). This invitation to “find new roads” and encounter others along our faith journey is one of the marks of this papacy. Pope Francis, therefore, encourages the baptized to renew their missionary calling and discover new ways to proclaim the Good News.

Participants in this course will explore the characteristics of Pope Francis and will learn more about this missionary message within his writings. To conclude this CEU, participants will design a three minute video featuring selections from His Holiness’ writings that are pertinent to their ministry.

TH 36 Suffering: How to Accompany Others with Dignity

“Suffering, which has many levels and dimensions, can often be the most challenging aspect of the life of a disciple of Christ,” according to Christian author Aurelie A. Hagstrom. Then, why does God allow for suffering? What are some contemporary issues that cause suffering? How might faith communities encounter and accompany those in the midst of suffering? This Continuing Education Unit explores these questions and provides participants with practical, pastoral strategies to enhance ministerial outreach.

TH 37 Intentional Black Catholic Ministry

“There are 3 million African American Catholics in the United States,” according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ African American Demographics. How are Catholic faith communities educating themselves about the rich history of Black Catholicism in the United States? Are communities engaging in discussions about the social challenges facing this specific faith group? What are some ideas for improving ministry efforts to educate others about the Black Catholic community’s contributions? These questions are just a few that this Continuing Education Unit explores.

Participants will reflect on their own evangelization encounters, discuss the impact of social sins on this specific community, and consider ways in which they may enhance or change current ministry efforts.


Theology Instructor Marianne GreenMarianne T. Green, M.A. is an award winning educator specializing in educational technology and digital resource implementation within K-12 classrooms. She collaborates with the Diocese of Reykjavik, Iceland working to expand their catechetical outreach through social media platforms. A quarterly web writer for Today’s Catholic Teacher Magazine, she consistently contributes educational articles. She currently works as an independent consultant for the Catholic Apostolate Center.

Catholic Apostolate Center logo

About the Catholic Apostolate Center

The Catholic Apostolate Center, a ministry of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottines) – Immaculate Conception Province, was founded in 2011 to respond to the needs of the Church through developing formation programs for the New Evangelization, assisting pastoral ministers in deepening collaboration with one another, and providing formation and apostolic opportunities for members and collaborators of the Union of Catholic Apostolate.

The Center takes its inspiration from the spirituality of St. Vincent Pallotti and achieves its goals through hosting conferences, seminars, webinars, and presentations as well as providing online and print resources.

National Association of Church Personnel Administrators

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine has partnered with the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators (NACPA) and the Catholic Apostolate Center to offer CEUs that qualify for recertification credits from HRCI and SHRM.

TH 38 – Human Resources Responsibilities in the Catholic Workplace will run from October 1 – December 31, 2019. For registration information, contact NACPA.


This dual master’s level CEU program will assist human resource and business manager professionals in a Catholic workplace who are transitioning to Church personnel administration. This program will familiarize participants with Catholic teaching on the apostolic mission of the Church, stewardship, and the dignity of work, while highlighting presuppositions that may differ from their previous work environments. Participants will be offered resources to empower them in fulfilling their role in building the Kingdom of God.


  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the Church’s organizational structure
  2. Exhibit a familiarity with Canon Law as it pertains to personnel administration
  3. Apply Gospel values in one’s HR role
  4. Utilize Catholic social teaching, in particular the message in Just Treatment for Those Who Work in the Church, when developing policies and procedures and other HR initiatives and other projects
  5. Understand the Church document Co-workers in the Vineyard of the Lord

National Association of Church Personnel Administrators logo

About The National Association of Church Personnel Administrators

The National Association of Church Personnel Administrators (NACPA) promotes leadership in human resources, finance and administration that models Gospel values, promoting justice in the workplace. It promotes comprehensive church personnel systems which integrate Catholic social teaching and sound management principles; strengthen working relationships among Church leaders, ministers and employees; develop church personnel and human resource skills and competence; and commit to excellence through Gospel values.