Director • 322 Geddes Hall • Notre Dame, IN 46556 • 574-631-4920 • firstname.lastname@example.orgWhat is your personal background?
I grew up in northern Michigan, Chicago and South Bend, the last of which has been my home now for many years. My family has instilled in me a deep and understated faith, a love of Seamus Heaney & Flannery O’Connor, the Catholic Worker community, and the early tunes of Randy Newman, as well as a deep devotion to Chicago White Sox baseball, Notre Dame and Bears football and the motley communion of saints we are blessed to call our friends and family. To these, I add my affection for systematic theology, mysticism, latin dance, live music and the arts.What is your educational and ministerial background?
I attended Notre Dame for my undergraduate degree in the Program of Liberal Studies and Theology, which included a year at Maynooth College, Ireland, as well as for my Master of Divinity degree. As an undergraduate, I taught first grade catechesis and was involved in music ministry with the Notre Dame Folk Choir. Between college and graduate school, I served as a lay volunteer in the Holy Cross Associate program in Chile. As an Associate, I experienced the grace and challenges of living in an intentional faith community and was involved in a variety of ministries, including adult and children’s choir direction, hospitality, children’s, youth and young adult catechesis, rural women’s personal development initiatives, home visits, missions and the art of “sobremesa.” During my M.Div., I led undergraduate seminars to Oaxaca, Mexico, served as an assistant rector and directed music, liturgy, prayer, and retreats. Since then, I most enjoy studying systematic theology, creating and directing retreats and sharing spiritual direction with undergraduate and M.Div. students.How long have you been with Echo and in what capacity do you serve the program?
I began working for Echo in June 2004, just as “Echo 1” began their trailblazing first summer. I served the program as Coordinator of Formation Activities for four years and as Associate Director for three years, before becoming Director of Echo in July, 2011.What do you enjoy most about being part of the Echo staff?
Creating and sustaining a new program like Echo demands a great deal of courage, vision, energy, flexibility, humility and perseverance. The Echo program and staff, by their witness, have challenged me to grow in all of these areas. As founding director, Jerry Baumbach offered his generous leadership, breadth of experience and deep sense of history to a renewed vision for the future of catechesis through Echo; Luke Slonkosky is an energetic, creative and committed colleague with a contagious gift of laughter; Aimee Shelide is a natural collaborator with remarkable depth and inspiring passion; Jan Poorman is a colleague steeped in theological insight, intuitive wisdom and pastoral courage; Valerie McCance is our resident oracle of patience, perspective, humor and common sense. The Echo staff cares deeply about those in the program and about one another. It’s a blessing to work among them.If you could use only one catechetical tool, what would it be and why?
Silence. Wait, and eventually the Word speaks. At his most sublime, T.S. Eliot writes:
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be for the wrong thing; wait without
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the
John Dunne reminds us of Pascal’s insight that many of our problems come from not being able to sit alone in a room with ourselves. If only we could bear being with ourselves, our lives, our God, perhaps we could bear God’s mercy, ourselves, and one another more generously.What have you learned from working with apprentices and partner dioceses?
Catechesis is hard work. It demands an uncommon degree of maturity, flexibility, creativity, humanity and faith. Our apprentices and partners are remarkable in their passion for and commitment to serving the Church in some of its most important work—helping stir, inform and nurture the faith in and among us. We have a lot to learn from one another about the faith and ministry that unites and guides us. Young apprentices and experienced mentors and diocesan leaders model well the importance of personal relationships, shared prayer, theological reflection and mutual learning in service.What benefits do you think Echo provides to apprentices and the Church?
Echo provides a structured and supportive framework for apprentices to transition from college to an even more mature adult faith life in mentored service to the Church. Through its comprehensive formation program, Echo invites apprentices to come to know our God, themselves, our theological tradition and parish catechetical ministry more intimately. Effective ministry depends on our ongoing openness to spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and communal formation and our desire to develop the necessary dispositions, tools and commitment to live and work out of a place of faithful authenticity. This is not easy, but at it’s best, Echo helps apprentices become well formed and informed leaders in the faith who learn a great deal from the Church and whose lives are a gift to it.What other ministries are you involved in outside of Echo?
I enjoy creating, planning and leading theologically rooted spiritual retreats that engage fine and expressive arts, for a variety of groups.What do you do for fun when you’re not working for Echo?
I love live music and latin dance, tailgating and football, painting and ceramics, and hosting dinner and dance parties with family and friends.What advice would you give prospective apprentices and diocesan partners?
To prospective apprentices: If you are eager to serve a vast Church, to grow in faith and knowledge of God, yourself and others, theology, parish life and catechetical ministry, all within a wonderful, supportive and challenging community, Echo could be just the program for you.
To prospective partners: Thank you for your interest in helping train our next generation of catechetical leaders. We are eager to send you bright, young, energetic, and faithful women and men excited to serve the people of your diocese. Our experience has shown that the partnership between Echo and dioceses is a mutually beneficial one, in which apprentices learn a great deal from experienced partners and where partners are renewed and reinvigorated in their own mission and ministry. Echo is a “win-win” and we hope that you will consider investing in a partnership with us for the future of the Church!