Religious Education and Theology Programs

The mission of Catholic Education requires committed Catholic teachers and leaders who recognize their need for a solid foundation in the teachings of the Faith. There are many fine programs available, but three in particular are co-sponsored by agencies in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and are adapted to local needs for theological, ministerial and religious education specializations.

Paul VI Pontifical Institute
The Pontifical Paul VI Catechetical and Pastoral Institute provides college-level continuing education and formation in Catholic doctrine, Sacred Scripture, liturgy, morality, spirituality, pastoral theology and catechetical methodology for those exercising various apostolates in the Church. Courses are offered in the spring, summer and fall semesters, both online and at various parishes and centers around the Archdiocese. Named after Pope Paul VI who led the Church in the challenging task of implementing the renewal of the Second Vatican Council and of preserving the faith handed down from the Apostles, Paul VI Institute is committed to the extension of this mission among the people of God in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Further information and course schedules are available at, by email at, and by phone at 314.633.2550.

Saint Louis University Religious Education Program
The Religious Education Department of the Catholic Education Office and the Saint Louis University Department of Theological Studies jointly offer a program leading to a Master's Degree in Theology with a specialization in Religious Education. It is designed for those preparing for religion teaching on the high school level or for leadership as a parish/school Coordinator or Director of Religious Education.

Required courses include:

  • Systematic Theology: 6 credit hours
  • Biblical Theology: 6 credit hours
  • Moral Theology: 3 credit hours
  • Elective: 3 credit hours
  • Religious Education Specialization: 12 credit hours

Two prerequisite courses in systematics and scripture are also required if student does not have an undergraduate major in theology.

All of the courses are scheduled during late afternoon or evening hours to accommodate students who are already involved in full-time ministry. Tuition is discounted 60%, with additional grants available through the Catholic Education Office for those under contract with Archdiocesan and parish schools/parishes. A complete description of the program can be found on the web-site, by email at, and by phone at 314.977.2881.

Institute for Pastoral Theology, Ave Maria University
Ave Maria University, in cooperation with Paul VI Pontifical Institute, offers a 36-credit graduate program which includes theological education, spiritual formation and pastoral orientation. The format is an intense three-year schedule of classes which meet one weekend per month, August through May. Its focus is not limited to religious education but includes a broad range of service in the Church such as religious education leadership or teaching, youth ministry, vocation ministry, respect-life apostolate, RCIA coordination. Foundational texts for the curriculum are Sacred Scripture, Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Writings of Pope John Paul II, the Documents of Vatican II, the Code of Canon Law, Catholic Liturgical Documents and the Classics of Catholic Spirituality. More information is available on the web at, by email at, or by phone toll-free at 866.866.1100.

For additional information about how these programs meet religious education certification requirements, contact:

Dr. Barbara Blackburn
Director of Religious Education Formation
Catholic Education Office
20 Archbishop May Drive
St. Louis MO 63119