CINCINNATI – The Archdiocese of Cincinnati announces the creation of a new online learning program for those called to teach the Catholic faith. It is called Vocare, which means “to call.”
The launch of Vocare (www.VocareOnline.com) is one component of a wider initiative being implemented in Catholic parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese in which principals, school teachers, directors of religious education, and parish volunteer catechists (teachers of religion) are encouraged to deepen their knowledge of the essential elements of Catholic teaching. Participants will progress through a course of study to achieve catechetical certification, qualifying them to teach religion in Catholic schools and parishes.
Fr. Thomas Wray, Director of the Archdiocesan Office for Evangelization and Discipleship, the office overseeing the faith formation of some 2,500 Catholic school principals and teachers and parish catechiests, said Vocare began with a review of the existing certification process for teachers and catechists. “We heard loud and clear that our teachers and catechists needed an accessible, affordable and consistent formation experience,” he said “Vocare satisfies those needs.” And Fr. Wray notes additional advantages of the new approach: “Parents of children in Catholic school and parish religious education programs expect Catholic identity to be dynamically present their child’s religious education. Vocare empowers those called to teach in our schools and parishes to more fully know and teach the faith. Christians have always “baptized” elements of the secular culture as worthy bearers of the Gospel. Just as the first Christians used the Roman roads to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, so now we in the 21st century evangelize with digital technology.”
While Vocare is dedicated to supporting the teaching ministry of Catholic educators, other branches may be developed to provide formation for any number of ministries meeting the needs of the faithful throughout the Archdiocese. “A pastor may discern the need to train bible study leaders, marriage preparation coordinators, baptismal preparation leaders, or parish leadership teams,” said Wray. “ Online courses and in-person group study sessions can be digitally accessed through Vocare, offering the same resources now available for our teachers and catechists. We hope Vocare will renew our ability to deliver Catholic teaching, resulting is a better formed faith community ready to extend the message of Christ and His church in relevant and beautiful online courses.”
Wray was named director of the Office for Evangelization and Discipleship in July of 2015. A former Episcopal cleric, he was received into the Catholic Church along with his wife and two children in 2011. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati on March 7, 2015. Fr. Wray holds a bachelors degree from Wheaton College and a masters in divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and has completed doctoral coursework at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago.
Fr. Wray is available for media inquiries. Call the Office for Evangelization and Discipleship at 513-421-3131 or email VocareSupport@CatholicCincinnati.org.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati is the 44th largest Catholic diocese in the country, with more than 450,000 Catholics, and has the sixth largest network of Catholic schools in the nation. The 19-county territory includes 211 parishes and 111 Catholic primary and secondary schools.