The Echo Program is most grateful for its diocesan partnerships, the participation of parish mentors, and the support of parish pastors in this program. The following questions are typical of those asked by diocesan partners and potential mentors.Expand All • Collapse All
Diocesan FAQsWhen are new apprentices told the name of the diocese where they will serve?
This information is ordinarily shared with new apprentices in late March.
Parish assignments are made jointly by the Echo staff at Notre Dame in consultation with the diocesan leader. The announcement of parish assignments, including the name of the parish mentor paired with each apprentice, is made during an on-campus Echo program orientation event in mid-June. For Echo 8, this will be on June 17.
Diocesan leaders receive information about the new apprentices, including phone numbers and email addresses, in April or May. Diocesan leaders ordinarily send an email message or call the apprentices soon after they are assigned to the diocese.
Apprentices also appreciate a letter of welcome and pertinent diocesan information from the diocesan leader and/or from the Bishop. For Echo 8, this correspondence should be sent to the apprentices by name in care of the Echo Program (330 Geddes Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556) and should arrive at Notre Dame by June 3, 2011; it will be given to the new apprentices during a program orientation event on June 17.
Mentor Formation Weekend is an annual event held at Notre Dame for diocesan directors and mentors. Upcoming weekends are July 8-10, 2011, and July 6-8, 2012. During this required event, mentors meet and work with apprentices and receive from and review with our staff two booklets:
- Formalizing Echo Parish Mentoring Relationships (for both mentor and apprentices); and
- A Guide for Community Living (for apprentices).
During this important weekend, new mentors meet with returning mentors and all mentors develop a professional relationship with their assigned apprentices and discuss goals for the upcoming year.
Partner dioceses are asked to secure an adequate and safe residence centrally located (i.e., no more than 20-30 minutes driving time) to the various parishes where Echo apprentices serve, and to provide such residence at no cost to the apprentices. For Echo 8, partner dioceses are asked to provide the address of the Echo residence to the Echo Program at Notre Dame by May 31, 2011, for distribution to the apprentices. Program history demonstrates that apprentices’ family members sometimes ask precise questions about the residential facility.
The diocesan Echo residence is a furnished residential facility that should include standard furnishings; e.g., bed for each apprentice, dresser, desk and chair, lamps; furniture for gathering space (e.g., sofa, chairs, lamps); basic kitchen utensils, etc. Dioceses often benefit from several parishes working to secure furniture and prepare the residence. Basic residential utilities also need to include routine property maintenance.
Basic utilities (e.g., electric, gas, water, etc.) at the Echo residence need to include high-speed internet access and local phone service. It is important for these services to be in place in the residence before the apprentices arrive. Apprentices begin their first Notre Dame on-line graduate course through the Department of Theology the same week that they begin their parish service.
Apprentices are told by Echo Staff to anticipate reasonable driving time to their parishes from the residence (i.e., no more than 20-30 minutes). Reasonable driving time provides for more opportunities for apprentices to fulfill their commitment to spending quality time with their intentional faith community.
Echo apprentices move into the local residence on Friday, August 19, 2011, and/or on Saturday, August 20, 2011. Returning apprentices (Echo 7) resume parish service on Monday, August 22, 2011. New apprentices (Echo 8) begin parish service on Tuesday, August 23, 2011. New apprentices need driving directions from their home of record to their diocesan residence and from the diocesan residence to their parish.
The University conducts criminal background checks on new apprentices. However, this is not a substitute for whatever must be done to conform to local arch/diocesan policies and procedures.
At this time, the current stipend amount is $12,000 (gross) per year for each of the two years. Since new Echo 8 apprentices leave Notre Dame without a first paycheck awaiting them and do not begin their parish service until August 23, we respectfully request that they be given their first pay upon arrival and then enter into the normal payroll cycle.
Payroll cycles may vary by diocese (e.g., a 12-month period ending at the end of July or a 9-month period ending at the end of May). It is expected that parishes will have the apprentices on their usual payroll cycle.
For Echo 8, the stipend is for service from August 23, 2011 to May 25, 2012, and is payable in full for first-year apprentices returning for the second summer at Notre Dame.
Returning Echo 7 apprentices serve from August 22, 2011 to May 25, 2012. Stipends for Echo 7 apprentices who are completing the program are payable in full either by the end of May or end of July, depending on the diocesan payroll cycle.
If requested by the University, diocesan partners are asked to provide medical insurance or contribute to Echo program administrative costs that include a third-party group medical insurance plan, as specified by the University, for the Echo program.
The Institute for Church Life covers this administrative cost for the months of June and July of the first year of the two-year diocesan commitment (i.e., Echo 8). Monthly billings begin in July for August and afterwards.
The amount for program year 2011-2012 is $250.00 per month multiplied by the number of apprentices serving in a diocese (payable to the “Institute for Church Life”). Please let us know who should receive the billing notices; we prefer centralized billing to a diocesan office if possible.
Dioceses that are completing the second year of the two-year program commitment are responsible for these billings through May of the second year.
Diocesan leaders inform mentors of the apprentices’ parish assignments in late May or early June. However, this is not the time to contact the apprentices. Such communication can commence after the Echo apprentices are informed as a group of their parish assignments on June 17.
Echo 8 apprentices will learn the name of their mentor and the parish where they will serve during an orientation event on campus on June 17. Each mentor is asked to send a letter of welcome and a parish bulletin to the apprentice in care of the Echo Program, 330 Geddes Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556 by June 3, 2011. This allows us to gather all of the information for all new apprentices in time for distribution during orientation. Greetings and messages from pastors are also very welcome.
Items such as parish yearbooks, T-shirts, etc. should be given to the apprentice during Mentor Formation Weekend (July 8-10, 2011). Additional items or information received at Notre Dame before Mentor Weekend will be delivered on July 8 and not during program orientation in June.
Parishes are asked to provide a private or dedicated work space with a desk, working computer (with internet access), and telephone connection. Program experience has shown this to be the most effective way of supporting and enriching the apprentice’s ministerial experience.
Mentors are eager to share with new apprentices the diversity of parish catechetical ministries/programs. This is helpful information. However, it is important to delay identifying specific year-long work responsibilities during initial communications.
The topic of identifying ministerial responsibilities is treated in depth during Mentor Formation Weekend. One essential dimension of the mentor’s responsibility is that of enabling the apprentice to serve various aspects of the parish’s catechetical programming, including those aspects for which other parish staff members may be responsible. As a result of the mentor’s collaborative efforts with other parish staff members, the apprentice, over time, participates in diverse opportunities for serving catechesis in the parish. The mentor’s role in this regard is often referred to as that of a “broker” or “clearinghouse” on behalf of the apprentice.
Echo realizes that, by necessity, parish catechetical planning precedes the apprentice’s arrival in the parish. For this reason the mentor, along with parish staff members, should begin thinking about a small initial project for the apprentice to engage in upon arrival, with the goal of getting to know the parish community and offering help in a concrete and immediate way. Then, a “learning covenant” for ministry throughout the year will be developed with the input, direction, and assistance of the mentor during the apprentice’s first month in the parish. The initial project and learning covenant will be discussed in depth during Mentor Weekend. The Learning Covenant may reference or be derived in part from a diocese’s parish catechetical leader agreement currently in use, if one exists.
Mentors (as a group within a diocese) are required to choose a common evening between Monday and Thursday, for apprentices to be together for their ongoing formation as an Echo faith community. This may mean one or more apprentices need to be excused from participating in a particular ministry if it conflicts with the mutually designated evening. This type of arrangement can be discussed during Mentor Weekend.
Mentors are asked to educate the parish staff about the Echo program and the apprentice before the apprentice arrives in August. Echo provides a helpful Letter to Parish Staff, found under documents in Inside Echo, for mentors to share with their colleagues. Mentors are asked to secure and prepare a private or dedicated work-space with a desk, working computer (with internet access), and telephone connection in anticipation of the apprentice’s arrival. Parishes often announce the arrival of the apprentice in their bulletin and mentors and/or pastors typically introduce the apprentice at each Sunday Mass during their first or second weekend at the parish.