School of Christian Formation ... Online

Approved by the Office of Catechetical Leadership, Youth and Young Adult Ministry Formation  •  Anthony C. Marchica, Director

Welcome to the School of Christian Formation ... Online

Web-based Faith Formation Courses for Advanced Catechist Certification, Level 2 and 3 Certification for Catholic School Teachers, Adult Faith Formation, and Preparation for Lay Ecclesial Ministry

“To do their part, adult Catholics must be mature in faith and well equipped to share the Gospel, promoting it in every family circle, in every church gathering, in every place of work, and in every public forum” Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Pastoral Plan for Adult Faith Formation in the United States, CCB/USCC, 1999.

About the Diocesan School of Christian Formation

The United States Catholic Council of Bishops met in 1999 for the purpose of forming a pastoral plan that addresses adult faith formation. This plan was due, in part, to a "widespread spiritual hunger" within society. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptoris Missio and the USCCB’s own plan for evangelization, Go and Make Disciples, call for such efforts, and their success will require adult believers who are eager and articulate in sharing a faith they understand, embrace, and live. (28)


In order to bring adult faith formation to the Diocese of Palm Beach, the Diocesan School of Christian Formation was started – first within the Hispanic community and later in the English speaking community. These series of classes and programs were created so that adults who wished to learn more about the rich tradition of their faith could do so.


The school’s four goals are:

• To nourish and challenge Catholics with a deeper personal understanding of their faith tradition

• To enable participants to bring this experience to their families, friends, places of work and ministry

• To explore the Catholic tradition from our local context as a diverse Church with members of different cultural backgrounds and with varying ministerial needs

• To situate our experience of faith, church, and ministry in light of the teachings and documents of Vatican II

School of Christian Formation Courses of Study

The School of Christian Formation offers both classroom and online learning options for its courses.  Persons may audit or take individual courses for credit as desired, or follow the entire 3-year program. Most School of Christian Formation courses are available online.

Year One: Knowing Our Faith

Old Testament Introduction*

New Testament Introduction*



Year Two: Celebrating Our Faith

History of the Church



Vatican II

Year Three: Living Our Faith


Social Doctrine


Pastoral Ministry

*For the online division, Old Testament Introduction and New Testament Introduction are combined as one course. Likewise, the Sacraments and Liturgy courses are combined as one course. Online students receive credit for two courses in one.


For an overview of the online courses, course objectives, and course requirements, as well as to access the online tutorial portions of each course, click here.

Classroom Learning:

• Each course consists of 12 hours of instruction scheduled at various times (days, weeknights, and weekends) and at locations throughout the diocese.

• Program instructors have a masters or doctoral degree in Theology or are qualified to teach their subject.

• In addition to class attendance and participation, each course has an assigned textbook. Readings are decided by the instructors. Those participants who audit courses are encouraged to do the reading and to actively participate.

• Those who desire to receive a certificate or higher level catechist certification are required to do a small amount of writing for each course.

• In general, participants who miss more than 2 classes are not granted credit. However, special circumstances may be taken into consideration by the instructors. The instructor of each course determines which students have earned credit for the course.

• A day-long retreat is offered each year (August and May) and participation is required, at least once, for students seeking the School of Christian Formation certificate.

Online Learning:

• Online learning courses have a 3 to 4 month completion time frame.

• Each course requires the completion of one or more online tutorial(s) and the designated accompanying course materials.

• Each course requires a textbook and the completion of the assessment materials designed for that text. It is the responsibility of the online student to acquire the textbook. The Searchlight Virtual School does not sell the required texts. Some course texts can be purchased directly from the School of Christian Formation Diocesan Office. (Please call the office.) All texts can be purchased online or by special order through a local bookstore.

• When a course is ordered, the course materials are sent as an attachment to e-mail. (Enrolled students only.)

• To receive credit, all course requirements must be met within the established time frame.

• For an overview of the online courses, course objectives, and course requirements, click here.

The Searchlight Virtual School is a division of Ocean East Publishing.

The Searchlight software programs used on this site are the property of Ocean East Publishing and are for individual use by Searchlight students.

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All rights reserved.


Phone: 772-563-9457   •   E-mail: