Campus Minister • University of Notre Dame • Diocese of Fort Wayne – South BendHow, when, and why did you get started in ministry?
I began ministry right after I graduated from college. I went to St. Norbert College, a small, liberal arts Catholic College run by the Norbertine Fathers. It was there that my faith life had really taken off as I got involved in Campus Ministry activities more and more each year. There was a wonderful lay woman who was the Pastoral Associate whom I admired greatly and I have her to thank for inspiring me and affirming my own gifts as a lay minister in our Church. I graduated with sociology major and religious studies minor. As I graduated, I decided my faith had to be integrated into my work so I committed myself to ministry in the Church at that point. I realized that seeing things through the “lens of faith” was really important. It was my participation in retreats, liturgical ministry and doing service that helped bring my faith alive as a young adult in our Church.What keeps you engaged in catechetical leadership?
I believe our Church has lots of wisdom to impart on the human family so I try to share that wisdom in any way I can. I love helping students “make the connection” between what they learn about the Church and the practice of living their faith. I want others to experience the beauty of our teachings which when understood and lived well, really allow for every human being to flourish and have the freedom that comes from God alone.Why did you want to participate in the Echo Program?
I totally support the mission of Echo. I believe our Church is starving for effective catechetical leaders. There are many people in the pews that don’t have a clue about our Church teachings and Scripture and how they can shape and form our lives. I remember working at a parish a few years ago as the DRE and was so frustrated as there were so few qualified and effective catechists available. I feel strongly that our children, adults and entire Church deserve better catechesis than what we have had these past few decades.What have been some of your favorite moments or experiences working with an apprentice?
It has been both an honor and humbling to be a mentor in this program. I have loved the opportunities to sit down with my apprentice and reflect on his ministry together. He is a very busy minister and I delight in seeing him being able to step back and name how he’s grown and also what some of the challenges have been. I’ve enjoyed being able to help him navigate through some sensitive ministerial issues with students and colleagues and know that he is gaining invaluable skills through this experience that will help him for years to come. Also, working with an apprentice, helps keep me fresh and on my “ministerial toes.” As mentors, I feel we need to lead by example and so my own prayer life and ministry skills have deepened because of my work with Brett. I am filled with gratitude for this experience.What are some ways you believe you assist in the formation of Echo apprentices?
(see the question above…I think it answers this one as well). Also, I believe I assist in the formation by being available, being a good listener and being supportive. I tried to create an environment in which my apprentice felt he could come to me with anything and feel confident we would handle it together.What are some of the transitions or challenges you helped an apprentice to overcome?
I feel I have helped my apprentice grow in his identity as a minister. He is the youngest on our staff and sometimes he’d feel like his “voice” didn’t matter or have the same impact as those of us who are older staff members. One situation is when he felt like his “ministerial plate” was overflowing…and it was!! We both decided something had to change or he would be burned out very soon. So together we discussed how he could approach our director and share his concerns. My apprentice was very thoughtful and professional about it and did approach our boss with his concerns. I didn’t go with him to the meeting, but I was there to help him sort out what might be helpful and what isn’t. And he had a good, constructive discussion with our Director and things changed for the better for my apprentice.What qualities do you consider essential for effective catechetical leadership?
First of all, one must have an authentic love for the Church. I feel knowledge of our Church teachings, an understanding of Scripture and effective leadership skills are a must. Also, having effective pastoral skills is essential. Effective catechists know their “stuff” but also must know how to meet people wherever they may be on their faith journeys. This takes compassion and understanding of the human heart. I also think having a bit of creativity is important as different people learn in different ways! Some may like a lecture, some may be more “experiential,“ some may not even know how to begin to access a personal relationship with God. Having good communication and interpersonal skills is a must.What have you found helpful about the way Echo staff prepare apprentices for ministry?
The summer experiences and the retreats during the year are invaluable!! Having them form their won Christian community during the summer is a must. I appreciate that Echo focuses on not only forming the “head” through theology classes, but also the “heart” through retreats, spiritual direction, liturgies, etc.If you were to retire tomorrow, what do you hope your legacy would be for the people of your parish/diocese?
I would hope that people would remember me as a person with whom they could always rest their heart, especially as they share their spiritual journeys with me.I hope I am a person that does not pass judgment and that will do my best to always use the” lens of Christ’s compassion and love.” And finally, I hope I am known as a person who helped others to laugh and to keep things in perspective.What do you consider the lasting impact of Echo?
First, we are educating and forming cohort after cohort of young adults who will be theologically and professionally prepared to serve our Church. Second, these ECHO catechetical leaders are feeding a STARVING Church through their teaching, their witness and their ministry.