Centre for Religious Education and Catechesis

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About US

The Centre for Religious Education and Catechesis cultivates a multidisciplinary approach to applied research and reflective practice in religious education and catechesis that best responds to current needs. Grounded in the Roman Catholic tradition, and embracing all Christian traditions, the Centre seeks to partner with the faith-based agencies working in a variety of ways for faith development and catechesis across Canada.

Pictured here is the research team for Phase III of our “Where Faith and Life Meet, Action Research Project in Adult Faith Education/Accompaniment in Canada” from top left to bottom right:

  • Murray Watson, Adult Faith Formation Animator, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic-District School Board, Barrie, On.
  • Carol Kuzmochka, Co-director, CREC and lead researcher
  • Charlene Peters, chair ACA and catechetical director, Diocese of Charlottetown (also a member of Focus Group for Phase I)
  • Anne Walsh, chair ACCAF and program director, Redemptorists and Adult Faith Education Archdiocese of Saint John’s, Nfld
  • Alessandra Santopadre, Program director, office of culture and ritual (devoted to newcomers) Archdiocese of Montreal
  • Koreen Hrizai, chair, WCCRE and Coordinator, Office of Catechesis, Archdiocese of Saint Boniface
  • Daryold Corbiere Winkler, pastor, Archdiocese of Ottawa, co-chair Archdiocesan Committee for Indigenous/Non-indigenous relations and Anishinaabe, Cree from Manitoulin Island
  • Lorraine Ste-Marie, Co-director, CREC and Co-researcher
  • Marilena Beradinelli, Director of Faith Formation, Saint Basil Parish, Toronto
Partnership with the Sisters of Service

The Sisters of Service of Toronto who wish to ensure the continuation of excellence in educating in faith have offered funding toward the establishment of the Centre. Founded by Catherine Donnelly in Toronto in 1922, the Sisters of Service were the first English speaking, nationally based, Canadian catholic religious congregation with a Canadian born founder. Their mission was to minister to the immigrants of rural western Canada. The mandate of the Congregation rests in the belief in the inherent dignity of the person, a tradition of service and commitment to the needs of the underprivileged in society. The Sisters of Service are religious women who support projects and programs designed to promote social change, faith development and the advancement of the position and interests of the marginalized. Their efforts and support are oriented to social change through a commitment to human solidarity and education, and to those that ensure social, economic and ecological justice. Social change through equity is in effect a cornerstone of the University’s mandate and resonating strongly with the charism of Saint Paul’s Oblate founders.

Network for Religious Education & Catechesis
Leadership of the Centre

Director and Lead Researcher

Dr. Carol Kuzmochka

Dr. Carol Kuzmochka is a practical theologian specializing in adult faith education (catechesis) and pastoral leadership with expertise in integral adult learning and formation, transformative education and leadership, reflective practice and transformative process facilitation, group dynamics and the spirituality of leadership.  She has extensive practice in qualitative research.  She is the Director and Lead Researcher of the Centre for Religious Education and Catechesis and a Professor in the Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality.  She is the principal author of the three research-based practical resources for practitioners published by the CREC, Saint Paul University: “Five Promising Practices and Other Practical Wisdom:  A Resource for All Who Accompany Adult Faith” (2019); “Where Faith and Life Meet While We’re Three Metres Apart:  Wisdom from Accompanying Adult Faith During a Global Pandemic” (2021); “Bridging the Faith-Life Gap in Adult Faith Education/Accompaniment:  Expanding Perspectives on Practice that Meets People Where They are and Empowers Mature Christian Disciples” (2022).

Carol holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dalhousie University (Halifax), a Master of Religious Education Degree and a Doctor of Ministry Degree/doctorat en théologie pratique from Saint Paul University (Ottawa).  Along with these academic achievements, she completed a Certificate in Transformative Process Facilitation under the leadership of Dr. Marge Denis.

As Director and Lead Researcher for the Centre for Religious Education and Catechesis (CREC) Carol designs and leads an Awareness-Based Action Research Project in search of transforming practice in Adult Faith Education/Accompaniment.

The CREC also offers a wide array of knowledge sharing platforms for practitioners across Canada.  Carol has extensive experience as a practitioner in the field as director of adult faith education for the English sectors of the Diocese of Timmins (1994 – 2002) and the Archdiocese of Ottawa (2002 – 2006). She was director of the Centre for Pastoral Leadership and Spirituality at Saint Paul University from 2006 – 2012 and continues a long and highly respected teaching career (which began in 2006) of a wide array of courses at Saint Paul University.

Co-Researcher of the Centre

Lorraine Ste-Marie, D. Min. 

Lorraine Ste-Marie is adjunct professor with the Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality in the Faculty of Human Sciences. Prior to her retirement in July 2022, Lorraine served as associate professor and director of the same School. Before her faculty appointment in 2006, Lorraine served as the Director of the Centre for Ministry Formation at Saint Paul University from 1999 to 2005. Since then, she has served in a number of leadership roles in the University, including Director of Programs in Practical Theology in the Faculty of Theology as well as Vice-dean and then Interim Dean in the Faculties of Human Sciences and Philosophy between 2017 and 2020.

Lorraine completed a Master of Arts in Theology (Ethics) from Saint Paul University and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from McMaster University (Hamilton, ON) in which she focused on the connection between language and leadership development for becoming a more inclusive church.  As a practical theologian, Lorraine’s research and teaching bring together resources from a number of disciplines in both human sciences and theology in her search for strengthening ways to cultivate hospitable learning environments and develop transformative leadership capacity. Alongside her academic education, she is trained in process developmental coaching, immunity-to-change mapping, conflict resolution, spiritual accompaniment, and the design and facilitation of Theory U/Presencing. She also serves as resource person and facilitator in the areas of change processes, community development, and transformative leadership. As adjunct professor, Lorraine continues her research as well as contributes to the design and delivery of professional programs in the Institute for Transformative Leadership.

Representative of the Sisters of Service

Sr. Mary-Ellen Francoeur, SOS

Mary-Ellen is a Sister of Service, and represents her Community on the Board. She now lives in Toronto. Her background is in Clinical Psychology and Spirituality, approaching both in a very holistic way. She is deeply interested in the ongoing development of the spiritual/faith life of adults and children. Beyond her areas of training, she has been very involved in the areas of peace and social/ecological justice. She has spent many years in a healing context with Indigenous people in the far north, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. Her personal journey with the Universe Story, and ecospirituality, shape her life and current work.

Board Members

  • Janet Bentham, Catholic Association of Religious and Family Life Educators of Ontario
  • Laura Hughes, Directrice de l’Office Provincial de l’Éducation de la foi Catholique de l’Ontario
  • Bianca Briciu, Professor, Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality
  • Sister Mary-Ellen Francoeur, Representative of the Sisters of Service of Toronto
  • Carol Kuzmochka, Co-Director and Researcher for the Centre for Religious Education and Catechesis
  • Lorraine Ste-Marie, Co-Director of the Centre for Religious Education and Catechesis
  • George Smith, c.s.b., Interim Dean, Faculties of Human Sciences and Philosophy,
  • Marg Shea-Lawrence, Director of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Office for Evangelization and Catechesis
Research Activities

Development of innovative research and resources to support adult faith education/accompaniment

The Centre for Religious Education and Catechesis is engaged in Phase III of An Action Research Project in Adult Faith Education in Canada: Towards Transforming Practice. Led by co-director and lead researcher, Dr. Carol Kuzmochka, focus groups of practitioners from across the country engage in action research designed to contribute to transforming practice in adult faith education/accompaniment that bridges the gap between faith and life by meeting people where they are and generating learning and growing spaces for meaning-making and agency as mature Christians. The project has three goals:

  • to generate innovative responses
  • to generate much-needed empirical data and potential future research questions
  • to generate resources for adult faith education and the formation of catechists to work with adults
Resources on the Symposium

The Symposium was based upon the research-based resources from Phases I and II of the CREC’s research project into Adult Faith Education in Canada:  Towards Transforming Practice.  These research-based resources can be found here:

Symposium Opening Session:

Featuring the keynote presentation by Dr. Jane Regan (beginning at 19 min) with an Introduction/overview to this process-based, interactive Symposium (Dr. Carol Kuzmochka, facilitator.

Link : https://youtu.be/dQlL8m5bszw

Session 4:

Featuring An Interactive Panel Session with Ms. Marg Shea-Lawrence, Mgr. Paul-André   Durocher, Fr.   Daryold Winkler(beginning at 16 min) with “echoes” from the previous day’s interactive break-out sessions.

Link : https://youtu.be/60xzcWFHaQ

Session 5:

What are we Hearing for our Ongoing Practice for The Way Forward for A Wise and Hopeful Adult Church? led by Dr. Jane Regan, keynote.

Featuring an interactive conversation following break-out room discussions.

Link: https://youtu.be/7lKyYqFdMSA ; https://youtu.be/cMCAdzElqCM

Session 6: Séance de clôture

FeaturingEchoes for the Way Forward — an interactive conversation with participants, a final reflection and prayer from Archbishop Paul-André Durocher and a toast to a hopeful way forward in adult faith education/accompaniment!

Link: https://youtu.be/-MPfHzYYOV0

The Heart of the Matter

Purpose of the Series

The Centre for Religious Education and catechesis was opened in the spring of 2012 with the generous support of the Sisters of Service. Since that time the Centre has provided outreach through programs, workshops and conferences by inviting renowned guest speakers in religious education on a variety of important topics. The Centre has collaborated with other groups who also work toward ways of supporting and developing religious education and catechesis in Canada. Further, members of the Centre have responded generously to invitations to offer their expertise across the country.

In an effort to extend this good work, the Centre is presenting a Video series called “The Heart of the Matter” intended for use by catechists and religious educators, to support their current programs and processes for nurturing faith in their communities.

This series is inspired in part by the work of the Sisters of Service, pioneers in what we presently call “distance education”. Among their many innovative ministries in the first half of the twentieth century, the Sisters opened religious correspondence schools, which reached across the rural communities in Canada and beyond. Their creative mission spirit led them to places where others could not or would not go. By their presence and continued activities among the faithful, they kept the fires of faith burning.

So today, in that same spirit we present a series of videos prepared by faith educators who have a passion for stirring the fires of faith from their experience and expertise.

In English*, these presenters are as follows:

  • Dr. Carol Kuzmochka offers both an overview and a process for grounding adult faith education in the richness of the living Catholic Tradition.
  • Fr. Mark Slatter presents a unique and compelling view of the meaning and scandal of the Cross, and how it remains an inspiration for our gospel living.
  • Jan Bentham, MRE, provides catechists with ways to involve participants in the great stories of faith through the use of the arts.
    Dr. Joe Rogers suggests ways of engaging young adults in matters of faith through the use of media and films.

These presenters have prepared an educational process that outlines possible approaches for your use of these videos. We hope this will make them more accessible and adaptable for your own ministry. The video and the educational process may also simply provide you with formative activities for yourselves as catechists and religious educators.

This material is free to use, but we do appreciate notice of use. Simply email us at [email protected] and let us know in what context the video was used and how many people participated. We would appreciate your feedback on these videos and the pedagogical tool as we continue to develop such materials.

* See the French webpage for the French video series.

The Journey of Adult Faith: A Matter of the Heart – Dr. Carol Kuzmochka

One of the essential insights of this post-modern time ‎is that the journey of adult faith is a matter of the heart. In its full biblical sense, the “heart” incorporates all dimensions of the person: mind, body, spirit and will. This 15-minute video will explore the heart of the matter for the journey of adult faith, identify some key principles for accompanying adults in faith, and present WATER – a generative, integral framework that can help to guide the process.

A native of Nova Scotia and a long-time resident of Ontario, Dr. Carol Kuzmochka is a practical theologian committed to the integration of theory and practice and building a strong bridge between faith and life. Carol has been a leader in adult faith education her entire adult life, as a keynote speaker, diocesan director, part-time professor, researcher, consultant and facilitator. Her research for both her Master of Religious Education and Doctor of Ministry degrees explored the accompaniment of adult faith, and she continues to research, teach and lead extensively in this field.  Carol believes that a creative interplay between our current reality, the long, rich experience and teaching of the Church – in particular, the expertise of Jesus as teacher – and our hope for the future holds the key to a wise, fresh, effective practice of faith education that can address the most pressing challenges of our time and empower mature Christian disciples.

Watch video

Consult the educational process here.

The Arts Are a Rich Catechetical Tool – Jan Bentham

Dramatic arts, music, and visual arts have always been avenues of expression for thought and discernment within the realm of spirituality and religious traditions. The response of children to religious learning is heightened when they are able to reflect creatively. Many examples of student reflection and artifacts of learning will witness to the importance of integrating a pedagogical approach that begins with the arts.

Jan Bentham is a retired teacher of the Ottawa Catholic School Board, where she worked for 16 years in the area of religious education and catechesis. Jan is a member of the executive of CARFLEO (Catholic Association of Religion and Family Life Educators of Ontario). A graduate of the MRE program at Saint Paul University, Jan has been a reviewer for the Pearson religion program Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ. She has given keynote presentations in several school boards as well as the Catholic University of Australia on spirituality, social justice, faith, the arts and catechesis, and the vocation of Catholic education.

Watch video

Consult the educational process here.

Here Comes the ‘Nones’… – Dr. Joe Rogers

More and more people identify as ‘nones’ when it comes to religious affiliation. Despite not identifying with a particular denomination, these adults nonetheless search for meaning in the world. How can popular media and theology become tools for meaningful conversation? How does the use of mass media and pop culture become a pedagogical tool for faith development?

Dr. Joe Rogers was raised in an American Air Force family stationed throughout Latin America. During his teen years, his family settled in South Carolina. Joe received his undergraduate degree in philosophy and art education from the University of South Carolina. In 1995 he moved to San Antonio, Texas, and received his Master’s in Theology as well as a Doctorate in Ministry from The Oblate School of Theology. He has worked as a chaplain in hospital ministry in Buffalo, New York, in Native American ministry in Sisseton, South Dakota, and in HIV/AIDS ministry in San Francisco. From 1999 to 2005, Joe worked as a religion and film studies teacher in the Catholic school system and as a religious studies instructor at the University of the Incarnate Word. From 2005 to 2008 he was a full-time faculty member at the University of Texas in the philosophy and religious studies department, where he was nominated for The National Society of Collegiate Scholars Award for teaching excellence. In 2008, Joe moved to Canada. He now works for the Ottawa Catholic School Board as a chaplain at St. Patrick High School.

Watch video

Consult the educational process here.

Christ the Crook! – Fr. Mark Slatter

Christianity has always had the tendency to suppress the cross’s disturbing, upsetting properties and has therefore isolated us from disturbing and upsetting traits in ourselves and in the world. The crucifixion of Jesus might be the best-kept secret – from Christians.

Fr. Mark Slatter, a priest with the Archdiocese of Ottawa, obtained his doctorate in moral theology from the Gregorian University in Rome in 2007, and has worked with Ottawa’s homeless and drug addicts since 2000. He is associate professor of theological ethics at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Special areas of research and publication include topics such as values and the good of authenticity, suffering and growth, the nature of greed, the role of compassion in moral argument, poverty and ecclesial renewal, the moral properties of mercy, and conversion. He is the author of Insights While Suffering (Peter Lang, 2016) and an upcoming book on theological ethics and the crucifixion. He was a recipient of the 2011 Ottawa Capital Educators Award. His interests include astronomy, outdoor sports and film.

Watch video

Consult the educational process here.


Centre for Religious Education and Catechesis

Saint-Paul University
223 Main Street
Ottawa (Ontario)
K1S 1C4

613 236-1393