Formation Toward Christian Ministry

The Formation Toward Christian Ministry (FTCM) program offers basic theology and spiritual development to Catholic adults who want to deepen their commitment to Jesus and more fully answer their baptismal call to service as a mature disciple. As a core program offered by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, FTCM provides authentic Catholic teachings taught by approved instructors with Masters or Doctoral degrees in theological disciplines. There are several formation programs within the Archdiocese that require FTCM as either a portion of their overall program or as a pre-requisite for entry into the program. These include, among others, catechist formation, catechetical leader formation, and youth ministry leader formation.

Schedule & Registration Form for Spring 2017
Information about Summer Intensive Program

Who should take FTCM?

All Catholic Adults who are:

  • Seeking greater understanding of their faith
  • Already engaged in ministry
  • Discerning their call to church ministry

FTCM provides the theological content courses required for Diocesan certification as a catechist. In addition, FTCM is a pre-requisite for Catechetical Leadership preparation, Youth Ministry Leadership training, and Diocesan certification as a liturgist.

Program Overview and Courses

FTCM is a 108-clock hour process delivered over the course of three semesters. Classes meet on weekday evenings or in all- day Saturday format, depending on parish request. Each class session includes prayer, content presentation, and group dynamics. Each semester also includes participation in a Day of Reflection as a means to integrate content into daily living. A completion ceremony, at which the Bishop presides, concludes the three-semester course of study.

Semester 1

Introduction to Scripture Basic concepts regarding reading Scripture 10 hours
Old Testament Navigate through and apply the Old Testament 10 hours
New Testament Know, understand, and apply the New Testament 10 hours
Day of Reflection: Biblical Spirituality Allowing Scripture to saturate our experience of prayer 6 hours

Semester 2

Catholic Beliefs Basic concepts in Christian theology and doctrine 10 hours
Christology Who the Church understands Jesus to be 10 hours
Sacraments The Liturgy and the Sacraments 10 hours
Day of Reflection: Ecclesial Spirituality Allowing the Church and our membership in it to shape our experience of prayer 6 hours

Semester 3

Morality Living as a Catholic Christian disciple 10 hours
Church History 1 From the Resurrection to the Reformation 10 hours
Church History 2 From the Reformation to Today 10 hours
Day of Reflection: Missionary Spirituality Connecting our vocation to mission to our experience of prayer 6 hours

Can Courses be Taken Online?

All 9 courses that are a part of FTCM may be taken online through the University of Dayton's Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF).Information about that program can be found at 

One cannot do individual classes in this way, only entire courses. Fees for courses taken through the University of Dayton are independent of any fees paid to the Archdiocese. Monetary credits cannot be transferred between the Archdiocese and the University. Days of Reflection can only be done in-person in the Archdiocese.


A Catholic Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are required for all courses. All courses have one or two additional books that must be purchased separately ahead of time elsewhere. Both Amazon and carry all of the required books. Links are given below. Additionally, at least two local Catholic Bookstores have indicated that they plan to stock each of these books as well. They are Our Lady of Guadalupe Store, 13107-D West Bellfort, Sugar Land, TX 77478 and The Sacco Company, 2323 San Jacinto St., Houston, Texas 77002.  The list of these books, by course, follows:

Introduction to Scripture

  • Harrington, Daniel J., S.J. How do Catholics Read the Bible? Rowman and Littlefield, Publishers. 2005 ISBN: 0742548716; ISBN-13: 978-0742548718 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)

Old Testament

  • Boadt, Lawrence. Ed. Richard Clifford and Daniel Harrington, Reading the Old Testament Paulist Press 2012. 2nd Edition ISBN: 0809147807; ISBN-13: 978-0-8091-4780-9 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)
  • Dowley, Tim The Student Bible Atlas Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2015 ISBN: 1506400108; ISBN-13: 978-1506400105 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)

New Testament

  • Carmody, Timothy R. Reading the Bible (A Study Guide) Paulist Press 2004 ISBN: 0809141892; ISBN-13: 978-0809141890 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)
  • Dowley, Tim The Student Bible Atlas Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2015 ISBN: 1506400108; ISBN-13: 978-1506400105 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)

Catholic Beliefs

  • Pilarczyk, Daniel E. Being Catholic St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2006. ISBN: 0867167084; ISBN-13: 978-0867167085 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)


  • Luttenberger, Gerard H. Who do you Say that I Am? An Introduction to Christology CreateSpace (Self-Publishing), 2012 ISBN: 1466384344; ISBN-13: 978-1466384347 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)


  • Stasiak, Kurt Sacramental Theology: Means of Grace, Ways of Life Loyola Press, 2001. ISBN: 0829417214; ISBN-13: 978-0829417210 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)
  • Mick, Lawrence E. Understanding the Sacraments Today (Revised Edition) Liturgical Press, 2006. ISBN: 0814629253; ISBN-13: 978-0814629253 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)


  • Connors, Russell B Christian Morality: In the Breath of God (Catholic Basics: A Pastoral Ministry Series) Loyola Press, 2001 ISBN: 0829417222; ISBN-13: 978-0829417227 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)

Church History 1

  • Vidmar, John, OP. The Catholic Church Through the Ages: A History Paulist Press. 2005. ISBN: 0809142341: ISBN-13: 978-0809142347 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble) OR
  • Vidmar, John, OP. The Catholic Church Through the Ages: A History, Second Edition Paulist Press. 2014. ISBN: 0809149044: ISBN-13: 978-0809149049 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)

Church History 2

  • McGonigle, Thomas A History of The Christian Tradition: From the Reformation to the Present Paulist Press. 1996. ISBN: 0809136481; ISBN-13: 978-0809136483 (Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble)


Contact Information

Brian Garcia-Luense
Email Brian Garcia-Luense