An essential part of apprentices’ and theology teachers’ Echo experience is the relationship they enjoy with their mentors. Echo mentors are seasoned parish ministers or Catholic school teachers who work on-site with apprentices and theology teachers to help them develop the skills and capacities for effective leadership in ministry and to nurture their abilities to engage in faith formation.
Mentors are brought to Notre Dame’s campus every summer for a mentor weekend, composed of workshops, constructive conversations, and personal reflection in an atmosphere of prayer and community. Apprentices/theology teachers and mentors work together during this time to prepare for the year ahead and, in the second summer, to reflect on the past year.Apprentices and Mentors in Parishes
Apprentices and mentors create a learning covenant together to formalize their relationship. This covenant details the goals and responsibilities they will undertake in their parish ministry. The apprentice and mentor then meet regularly, collaborate on projects, and continually assess the ministerial growth of the apprentice. The mentor guides the apprentice over the two years in Echo into positions of greater authority and leadership as a professional minister.
Beginning in August, the theology teacher meets formally with his or her mentor to discuss specifically the theology teacher’s professional development and to engage in theological reflection related to the theology teacher’s catechetical work in the school. By September, theology teachers, in consultation with mentors, develop a learning covenant outlining the theological needs of the theology department, as well as his or her own intellectual, spiritual, and professional goals. The mentor guides the theology teacher over the two years in Echo as the theology teacher develops an understanding of theological pedagogy in both theory and praxis.
Echo staff members also support the mentoring relationship through parish and school visits, regular telephone and email contact, evaluation of the learning covenants, and end-of-year assessment conversations.