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.

How do you register for classes?

      • Registration for classes takes place within the Archdiocese's new Learning Management System, Capernaum.
      • If you already have an account with Capernaum, you can access an information page for FTCM with links to register for each of the components here.
      • If you do not already have an account, you will need to create one. Visit here to learn about Capernaum and how to create an account.
      • Go to for a step-by-step guide on how to register

What is the schedule?

In Mid-March 2020 all in-person classes were suspended in response to COVID-19. With ongoing uncertainty, for the time being we are only holding these classes using a virtual platform rather than attempt to gather in-person. The full Fall 2021 schedule is given below or download a brochure here

Course   Fall 2021
Introduction to Scripture  
8/31/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
9/07/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
9/14/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
9/21/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
9/28/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
Old Testament  
10/05/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
10/12/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
10/19/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
10/26/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
11/02/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
New Testament  
11/09/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
11/16/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
11/30/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
12/07/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
12/14/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
Day of Reflection: Biblical Spirituality   11/6/2021 8:30am-2:30pm
Catholic Beliefs  
09/11/2021   8:30am-10:30am
09/11/2021   11:00am-1:00pm
09/18/2021   8:30am-10:30am
09/18/2021   11:00am-1:00pm
10/02/2021   8:30am-10:30am
10/02/2021   11:00am-1:00pm
10/09/2021   8:30am-10:30am
10/09/2021   11:00am-1:00pm
10/23/2021   8:30am-10:30am
10/23/2021   11:00am-1:00pm
10/30/2021   8:30am-10:30am
10/30/2021   11:00am-1:00pm
11/13/2021   8:30am-10:30am
11/13/2021   11:00am-1:00pm
11/20/2021   8:30am-10:30am
Day of Reflection: Ecclesial Spirituality   12/4/2021 8:30am-2:30pm
09/02/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
09/09/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
09/16/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
09/23/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
09/30/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
Church History 1  
10/07/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
10/14/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
10/21/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
10/28/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
11/04/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
Church History 2  
11/11/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
11/18/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
12/02/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
12/09/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
12/16/2021   7:00pm-9:00pm
Day of Reflection: Missionary Spirituality   10/16/2021 8:30am-2:30pm


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.

Reading Assignments

The Formation Toward Christian Ministry (FTCM) program utilizes an adult learning method that requires and presumes that participants have spent some time with the material prior to coming to class. The time spent together in class, then, allows the participants to engage with the material and one another under the direction of the instructor.

The majority of the preparation time prior to coming to class will be spent completing the assigned reading. Participants should expect to spend about 3 hours reading in preparation for every 2 hours spent in class. Many find it helpful to review the questions contained in the handout packet before beginning the reading.

In order to allow participants to know in concrete terms the commitment involved in these courses, the reading assignments and handout packets are given below.

Course Reading Assignments Handout Packets Reading Packets
Introduction to Scripture Reading List: Introduction to Scripture Handout Packet: Introduction to Scripture Reading Packet: Introduction to Scripture
Old Testament Reading List: Old Testament Handout Packet: Old Testament
New Testament Reading List: New Testament Handout Packet: New Testament Reading Packet: New Testament
Catholic Beliefs Reading List: Catholic Beliefs Handout Packet: Catholic Beliefs Reading Packet: Catholic Beliefs
Christology Reading List: Christology  Handout Packet: Christology 
Sacraments Reading List: Sacraments  Handout Packet: Sacraments
Morality Reading List: Morality  Handout Packet: Morality
Church History 1 Reading List: Church History 1 Handout Packet: Church History 1
Church History 2 Reading List: Church History 2 Handout Packet: Church History 2
Day of Reflection: Biblical Spirituality   Biblical Spirituality Participant Handouts  
Day of Reflection: Ecclesial Spirituality   Ecclesial Spirituality Participant Handouts  
Day of Reflection: Missionary Spirituality   Missionary Spirituality Participant Handouts  


Books are an essential tool in FTCM. There are some books that participants will be expected to have present with them and to have read in preparation for each session.

Participants are welcome to choose either paper books or, when available, e-books. Participants using e-books are advised to make sure that the book is downloaded to their reading devices prior to arriving as there is no guarantee of consistent access to the internet via Wi-Fi.

Required Books for Every FTCM Class

      • A Catholic Bible
      • The Catechism of the Catholic Church

One is free to acquire these books from wherever one wants. The Catechism can, for example, be found on most online book retailers, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Any Catholic edition of the Bible is acceptable for use. 

Additional Required Books

Each of the nine courses that are a part of FTCM have at least one other additional book that is required for that course. These books are not available for purchase from the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis and must be acquired elsewhere. Both and carry all of the required books in their online stores. Links are given below. Additionally, at least three 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; The Sacco Company, 2323 San Jacinto St., Houston, Texas 77002; and Houston Catholic Books and Gifts, 7902 Louetta Road, Spring, TX 77379. 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 form 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)
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