FAQs

General Information

WHAT IS THE LAY DIVISION?

St. John Vianney Theological Seminary has three divisions of formation: (1) Priestly Division, (2) Permanent Diaconate Division, and (3) Lay Division. The Lay Division provides formation for the lay faithful on behalf of St. John Vianney.

WHAT PROGRAMS OF STUDY ARE OFFERED?

The Denver Catholic Biblical School is a four-year study of the Bible.
The Denver Catholic Catechetical School is a two-year study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Enrichment Courses are year-long, lecture-based classes on various topics related to the faith.
Short Courses provide instruction (avg. duration: 3-6 weeks) on different topics related to the faith.
Lecture Series present instruction on the liturgical seasons of the Church.
Workshops/Conferences are Saturday events that present different topics related to the faith.

Find more information about all the different programs under the “CLASSES” tab at top.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THE LAY DIVISION ON A STUDENT'S LIFE?

Immense!! Please visit our Student Testimonials page to read personal accounts and watch video testimonials from students about how our various programs have changed their lives.

WHAT IS THE DENVER CATHOLIC BIBLICAL SCHOOL (CBS)?

The Denver Catholic Biblical School was founded in 1982 by Sr. Macrina Scott (d. 2016) in response to Vatican II’s call for a renewal in the study of Sacred Scripture among the people of God. Our mission is to help people personally encounter the living Christ in Scripture as they commit to a life of Christian discipleship. It doesn’t matter if you have been a long-time student of Scripture or are just starting out, our program is designed to help the average, busy Catholic discover the timelessness of God’s Word and experience transformation in Christ!

The Biblical School program is a four-year in-depth reading and studying of every book of the Bible, within the context of the Catholic Tradition. Sacred Scripture is presented in an integral and integrated way: every book of the Bible is studied and the connection between the books of the Bible is demonstrated. Each year of study builds upon the previous year(s) and looks forward to the next. The following is the plan of study for the program:

YEAR 1 – From Eden to Exile: Salvation History from Genesis to Maccabees
YEAR 2 – Proclaiming the Kingdom: The Life of Christ, Acts, and the Letters of St. Paul
YEAR 3 – Judgment and Restoration: The Prophets, Tobit, Judith, and Esther
YEAR 4 – Wisdom and the Word: The Psalms, Wisdom Literature, Catholic Epistles, and the writings of St. John

Please watch excellent student testimonials HERE.

WHAT IS THE DENVER CATHOLIC CATECHETICAL SCHOOL (CCS)?

The Catechetical School shares the same mission as the Biblical School: to help the average, busy Catholic encounter the person of Jesus Christ, in this case through the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), and become a committed disciple. Classes are formatted similarly to the Biblical School (e.g., same tuition, format, calendar, student expectations, etc.). However, while the Biblical School is a four-year journey through the Bible, the Catechetical School is a two-year journey through the Catechism’s four major sections of the Christian life.

The Catechetical School (formerly known as “Pillars”) is now called: The Ladder of Ascent.

FIRST YEAR – Semester 1: The Creed; Semester 2: The Liturgy and Sacraments
SECOND YEAR – Semester 1: The Moral Life; Semester 2: The Life of Prayer

Please watch excellent student testimonials HERE.

HOW ARE THE BIBLICAL AND CATECHETICAL SCHOOLS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER BIBLE/CATECHISM STUDIES?

Other Bible/Catechism studies often have great resources, including study guides and video-based lecture programs. These are wonderful courses that often cover selected themes or portions of the Bible/Catechism, and may include group discussion of the material. The great strength of the Biblical and Catechetical Schools is the LIVE instruction from highly-qualified instructors who have studied Scripture and the Catechism extensively and are passionate about the Catholic faith. Additionally, the Biblical and Catechetical School are unparalleled in their structured and comprehensive presentation of the material. While other programs are formative and excellent in their own way, they do not offer the same quality and depth of formation found in our program of study. Other studies that do have live instructors do not benefit from our time-tested and life changing integrated curriculums that takes the student through every book of the Bible or every chapter of the Catechism, thus imparting both a general and focused education on Salvation History and Church teaching.

DO THE BIBLICAL AND CATECHETICAL SCHOOLS OFFER A DEGREE?

The Biblical and Catechetical Schools do not offer degree programs. The Catholic Biblical School awards a “Certificate of Biblical Studies” to individuals who fulfill the requirements of the four-year program. The Catechetical School awards a “Certificate of Catechetical Studies” to individuals who fulfill the requirements of the two-year program. No other Lay Division programs of study offer certificates.

WHY DOES SOMEONE TYPICALLY ENROLL IN BIBLICAL AND/OR CATECHETICAL SCHOOL CLASSES?

Students enroll for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons we hear most frequently are: (1) to grow in the knowledge and love of the faith; (2) to encounter Jesus personally through study and prayer; (3) to learn more about the Mass, the sacraments, the moral life of the church, and prayer; (4) to engage in and develop a community of like-minded Catholics to share in the journey of conversion; (5) to catechize family members, especially children and grandchildren; (6) to learn how to explain and share the faith with others; (7) to find emotional and/or spiritual healing through study of the material and small group discussions; (8) to simply learn how to read the Bible and/or Catechism and be able to reference it when needed; and finally, (9) to feel more confident and effective to participate in parish apostolates.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO A PASTOR OF THE BIBLICAL AND CATECHETICAL SCHOOLS?

Pastors frequently tell us that parishioners who have studied with us (current students and alumni) are far more passionate and committed to their faith, more frequently receive the sacraments, more likely to volunteer time to their parish, donate more generously, and are more involved in parish apostolates and/or committees.

DO YOU HOLD FREE TALKS TO LEARN MORE?

Yes, we hold free talks throughout the summer (typically late July-August) at both hosting parishes and online. During these talks, you will receive a dynamic sample lecture by one of our instructors and receive information about what to expect from the class. All potential new students are encouraged to attend a free talk before starting class, so that they can be excited and fully informed before committing to the class.

CAN I PICK UP WHERE I LEFT OFF?

Generally, the answer is yes. However, the curriculum was dramatically changed around 2003, so we highly recommend that anyone who took classes prior to that timeframe and did not graduate should re-take classes.

CAN MY TEENAGER ATTEND CLASSES?

It is a long-standing policy that Biblical and Catechetical students must be adults; that is, 18 years or older. There are several reasons that this policy is in place. Most importantly, quite often class and homework questions involve mature content, and since small group discussions review class and homework, a youth might be exposed to mature and complicated personal life matters. Teenagers under the age of 18 may enroll in Enrichment Courses, as those courses are lecture-based and do not involve small group discussions, as well as all other Short Courses, Lecture Series, and Workshops/Conferences.

Schedule + Location Information

WHERE AND WHEN ARE CLASSES HELD?

We offer both morning and evening classes at many locations throughout Colorado, as well as online classes, which are open to anybody, anywhere in the world!

HOW MANY WEEKS WILL WE MEET?

Our academic year consists of 30 weeks of classes, spanning September through May, with several breaks typically in the fall and spring, as well as time off for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. See the “STUDENT PORTAL” tab in the top menu of our site to access the Academic Calendar.

CAN I MAKE UP A MISSED CLASS?

Students who cannot attend their regular Biblical/Catechetical School class in a given week are encouraged to attend another class at a different location/online session that week. If that is not possible and an absence occurs, we allow our students to record lectures and share those recordings within their small group and/or with other classmates (it is prohibited to distribute recordings to anyone outside of the student body). Students can miss up to six classes per year, but all homework must be completed and turned in by the end of the school year – even for missed classes. Extraordinary circumstances leading to further absences can be discussed with the instructor, who will happily work with the student.

All other programs of study have no attendance/work requirements.

IS IT THE SAME TIME AND LOCATION FOR ALL YEARS?

For classes that run for multiple years (Biblical and Catechetical School), the class day, time, and location will remain the same for the duration of the program, absent extraordinary circumstances. If a student decides to change class locations during the year or between years, he/she is free to do so and should contact the instructor and office to notify of the location change.

IS THERE A DISTANCE LEARNING OPTION?

Yes! All online courses are open to anybody, anywhere in the world!

CAN I DOUBLE UP ON BIBLICAL/CATECHETICAL SCHOOL CLASSES OR TAKE THEM OUT OF ORDER?

Students must complete all four years (Biblical School) or two years (Catechetical) in sequence because each year’s curriculum builds upon the previous, so it is important to take each year sequentially. As such, we don’t allow students to take simultaneous years of the Biblical or Catechetical School in one year. However, students can take multiple classes between the different programs (CBS, CCS, Enrichment) at the same time, if they so desire.

DO I GET A NEW BIBLICAL/CATECHETICAL SCHOOL INSTRUCTOR EVERY YEAR?

Students will typically have a different instructor each year. This is a great benefit to the students because each instructor brings his/her own unique talents, perspectives, and witness to the classroom.

Teacher assignments are announced and posted at the very beginning of the Academic Year, right around September 1. All registered students will receive an email around Labor Day with their instructor’s name and contact information.

We feel our instructors are excellent and very passionate about sharing the faith, so no matter who teaches your class, you’re in very good hands!

Class Information

WHAT IS THE CLASS FORMAT EACH WEEK?

Weekly Biblical and Catechetical School classes follow this format:

15 minutes:      Welcome, Announcements, etc., and Lectio Divina
25 minutes:      Small Group time
5 minutes:        Break before lecture
75 minutes:      Lecture and Q&A.

For Enrichment Courses, the format is a simple 90 minute to two hour lecture. There are no small groups.

WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES AS A STUDENT?

For both Biblical and Catechetical School students: (1) Attend class regularly (up to 6 absences throughout the year are permitted; speak with the instructor for unusual circumstances) and complete all weekly homework assignments; (2) Complete take-home, open-book semester tests; and (3) Pay tuition in full by May 15 of the spring semester.

All in all, we ask students to simply do their best from week to week without stressing. Just have fun and enjoy learning about the faith!

HOW MANY HOURS EACH WEEK WILL THIS REQUIRE?

Biblical and Catechetical School classes are two hours in length. Enrichment Courses vary from 90 minutes to two hours in length. Other Short Courses, Lecture Series, and Workshops/Conferences vary, as well.

For CBS/CCS classes, additional weekly reading and (thoughtful) homework responses typically require 1-3 hours each week for the average student. However, we always encourage students to do their best each week with whatever time they have, even if they are limited in the time that they can spend with coursework.

All other programs of study have no outside requirements.

ARE ASSIGNMENTS AND TESTS GRADED?

We do not award letter grades for the four-year Biblical program or the two-year Catechetical program. Homework and tests are Pass/Fail. Upon successful completion of all coursework each year (complete all homework, midterm and final test) and after meeting attendance requirements, the student is able to move on to the next year of study.

HOW BIG IS THE CLASS?

Class sizes vary by location, but typically range from 25 to 50 students.

HOW BIG ARE SMALL GROUPS? WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

Small groups are typically composed of 6-8 individuals. Directed small group discussions have an effective and valuable place in the adult learning process. By completing homework lessons in their own words, students better retain what they have learned, deepen their understanding of the material, and improve their ability to share it with others. Small group discussions are guided by the questions in that week’s homework assignment, so discussions remain focused on the lesson at hand. Students report that small group discussions have helped them better see how God is working in people’s lives and how Scripture and the Catechism can be brought to life in different ways. What’s more, our small groups also foster a deeper sense of community and great relationships with newfound friends in the Catholic community at large.

HOW OFTEN TO SMALL GROUPS CHANGE?

Small groups assignments change every year. Depending on the class size, sometimes there will be some completely new people in the new group and sometimes not.

CAN I BE IN THE SAME SMALL GROUP AS FAMILY?

Family members and spouses do not participate in the same small groups together in order to better facilitate discussion and fellowship with new members of the Church community. Every year new groups are formed with new classmates for this same purpose. That being said, spouses and family members can sit together during prayer and the lecture, if they wish.

WHAT BOOKS ARE USED FOR THE CLASSES?

Please visit the “STUDENT PORTAL” tab on the top menu of our site to access Book Lists.

CAN I AUDIT CLASS?

Auditing is available for Biblical and Catechetical School classes only. Auditing is not available for any other programs.

Auditors must be Biblical or Catechetical School graduates. Biblical School graduates may audit Biblical School; Catechetical School graduates may audit Catechetical School. Auditors do not participate in small group discussions, although they may coordinate with other auditors to form their own small groups for discussion. There is no registration fee or tuition for auditors, though auditors may purchase a Student Workbook for $35.00, while supplies last.
[NOTE: Auditors MUST be graduates of the entire four-year CBS or two-year CCS program. Auditors cannot be current students who want to “re-take” a year.]

Registration Information

HOW AND WHERE DO I REGISTER?

CLICK HERE to register for all upcoming classes. You can also call the office at 303.715.3195

Tuition + Discount Information

WHAT IS TUITION?

All tuition below includes a nonrefundable $25 registration fee:

— $665.00 for Biblical School and Catechetical School. Only $25 is owed at the time of registration. Tuition includes the Student Workbook for Biblical and Catechetical Schools.
— $495.00 for year-long Enrichment Courses. Only $25 is owed at the time of registration.
— All other classes vary in length, as does their tuition. These are announced throughout the year as they are scheduled. Typically all other classes range in price from $30-$100. Payments is due in full at time of registration for all Short Courses, Lecture Series, and Workshops/Conferences.

ARE THERE DIFFERENT TUITION PAYMENT OPTIONS/PLANS?

Yes, we offer flexibility with regards to tuition payments. Payment options include: (1) Pay for year: Due September 15; (2) Monthly payments throughout the year: Make first payment by Sept 15, then make as many payments as you desire so your account is paid in full by May 15. (At the time of registration, the student will either pay all tuition for the year, or set up his/her automatic monthly payments.)

Regardless of the plan you choose, your tuition must be paid in full by May 15 of the spring semester.

ARE THERE ANY DISCOUNTS OR TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS AVAILABLE?

Yes, we offer the following discounts for Biblical School, Catechetical School, and Enrichment Courses:

  • Seniors (65+), Active Military, Veteran, First Responder, Parish Volunteer Catechist (in Colorado): 10% discount
  • Part-time employee (15-29 hours/week) of a Catholic organization in the state of Colorado: 50% discount
  • Full-time employee (30+ hours/week) of a Catholic organization in the state of Colorado (students pays only the $25 registration fee)
  • All priests, deacons, seminarians, and professed religious are free of charge.

Some discounts require documentation of status by Oct 15 of the fall semester to qualify. Student should contact the office for details on how to submit acceptable documentation.

Very limited tuition assistance from our St John Paul II Student Scholarship Fund may be available to those who truly need financial help. Our Tuition Assistance program is funded solely by generous donations from current and previous students, and other donors from our community who support our work. Our Director evaluates all applications submitted by September 1 and then determines each student’s assistance award. He/she strives to help as many applicants as possible. All students receiving tuition assistance are notified before classes begin. To be considered for Tuition Assistance, the student MUST (1) be registered for class; (2) have paid at least the $25 registration fee; and (3) live in Colorado. Late applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis; financial awards for late submissions may be limited to lesser amounts. Contact the office to request the Tuition Assistance Application (online form). Submission deadline: September 1.

Short Courses, Lecture Series, and Workshops/Conferences have no discounts/tuition assistance available.

DEACONS RECEIVE A FULL SCHOLARSHIP. DO DEACON’S WIVES ALSO QUALIFY?

At this time, the scholarship only extends to deacons. If a wife attends, it is considered a nice two-for-one!