Catechetical Institute: Pillars

Curriculum and Pedagogy

The Saint Paul Seminary Catechetical Institute Pillars Program is a two-year course. Students participate in four modules which focus on the creed, sacraments, moral life and prayer. Each module includes two formative sessions. After completing all four modules, students receive a certificate of completion.

The curriculum for this foundational course at institute is based on the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and is covered in four 11-week modules over a two-year period. With the main textbook being the Catechism, the pedagogy of the program centers around guiding the students toward the goal of the Beatific Vision; therefore, the content of the classes is best described as a systematic and organic presentation of the Catholic faith. The structure of the Catechism reveals a road map, a journey toward an end, that being life in the Trinity.

Each student will be required to read assigned sections in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and complete the questions in the student workbook weekly as preparation for a small-group discussion and lecture. At the end of each 11-week module, a two-page reflection paper will be submitted. The reflection paper briefly elaborates on what the student learned from the module and how that learning might impact the rest of his/her life.

Attendance and participation in class is vital to the overall learning experience of the student. Students are therefore expected to attend all classes, both Monday/Tuesday evening and Saturday Formative Sessions. Should a student miss a class, he/she will be excused by turning in a copy of that week’s homework to their small group leader. The audio of each lesson will be posted on the website for two weeks following the lesson. As the material is owned by the Catechetical Institute, you will need to log in to for access. Your login information will be given to you the first night of class. Passwords cannot be shared with others.

If a student misses a Saturday Formative session, he/she will be responsible to listen to the audio of the class and write a two-page reflection paper on the topic of that session, which must be turned in to the Archbishop Flynn Catechetical Institute at the date assigned by the Class Coordinator. If unable to attend any class, the student should inform the Catechetical Institute by emailing your Class Coordinator.

Please note: A Certificate of Completion will not be given to any student who has not turned in outstanding homework at the end of each module, or has missed more than three classes a module without making arrangements with the Class Coordinator.

Prompt arrival at Monday evening classes at 7:00 p.m. and all Saturday Formative Sessions at 8:00 a.m. is expected as instructors will be starting on time. Students are expected to arrive at class and to be seated prior to the established starting time for the class. It is also expected that students will move to and from the small group discussion groups quickly to ensure the instructor is not interrupted during his/her lecture.

Monday Classes for St. Thérèse of Lisieux (2023-2025) will be in person at St. Patrick’s in Edina, and various satellite sites.

Monday Classes for St. Michael the Archangel (2022-2024) will be in person at Epiphany in Coon Rapids and various satellite sites.

A system of communication between the students and the Catechetical Institute is in place and easy to access online by going to This website will allow the Catechetical Institute staff and Class Coordinators to keep the students updated on class schedules and cancellations, as well as allow the instructors to communicate with the students on a weekly basis when needed.

Whenever communicating with Catechetical Institute staff, please include both your class and location. his includes all email and phone communication, as well as payments made.

In the event of a weather related cancellation, students will be notified by email. In addition, details will be posted on the Catechetical Institute home page or The Catechetical Institute will follow protocol for the University of St. Thomas with respect to canceling classes. If the University reports weather-related cancellations, this would include the Archbishop Flynn Catechetical Institute regardless of class location. You may also call (651) 962-SNOW (7669) for updates on closings. The Catechetical Institute will provide a means of making up the session.

Each student is required to purchase the assigned texts for the Catechetical Institute. The following are required for all four modules: Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Companion to the Catechism, and a Bible, preferably the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition or the New American Bible. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be the major textbook for this class, it is imperative that students have the (green) Second Edition.

Each instructor has submitted a list of books that he/she has determined would compliment the study lessons. This Recommended Reading List, while not required reading, will enhance the learning experience of the student and serve as core books in the building of a personal library.

All books, both text and recommended reading, will be available for purchase onsite through the Catechetical Institute, with proceeds going to support the institute and a scholarship program.

After the two-year catechetical course, students who complete the course requirements will be given a certificate of completion from the Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The certificate shows that the student has not only completed the course work but has, in writing, reflected on how the content of the faith can be incorporated into his/her life and activities in the Church.

There are two formative sessions per module. Each session will be held on a Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the same location as the Monday classes. The morning is divided into two parts. The first part begins with Mass, followed by a light breakfast. The second part begins with a reflection given by faculty, followed by a period designed to appropriate the content of the reflection.

See Catechetical Institute schedules for more information. 

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