Service to the Church

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Echo Parish Catechetical Leadership

Echo Teaching Theology

The Mentor Relationship

Echo participants engage in service to the Church through one of two tracks: Echo Parish Catechetical Leadership and Echo Teaching Theology. Both the mentor relationship and direct parish/school experience, as well as formal ministerial and pedagogical training, serve to prepare apprentices and theology teachers for their catechetical ministry within the Echo Program and beyond.

Both diocesan partners and Echo staff members collaborate in carefully matching each apprentice and theology teacher to a mentor for this invaluable two-year relationship. As one who assists an apprentice/theology teacher in on-site ministerial formation, the mentor helps apprentices and theology teachers to navigate and process their experiences of service and leadership in various aspects of parish or Catholic school ministry.

In addition to this on-site mentoring relationship, both the partner dioceses and the Echo staff afford apprentices and theology teachers a number of opportunities for professional and ministerial development throughout each year. Partner dioceses assist in making both regional and national professional development opportunities accessible to apprentices and theology teachers. Echo staff and faculty, assisted by other Notre Dame faculty members, offer both courses and workshops in pastoral ministry and theological pedagogy, helping apprentices and theology teachers integrate theology and ministry, engage in theological reflection, foster their own developing ministerial identity, and develop practical skills essential for contemporary catechetical leadership.

Apprentices and theology teachers are also frequently invited to participate in diocesan and even national-level ministerial experiences that further contribute to their formation. In addition, many apprentices and theology teachers attend diocesan and national conferences dedicated to pastoral and catechetical praxis. For example, many Echo parish apprentices receive scholarships to attend the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership every year. On occasion, apprentices have even assumed leadership roles as co-presenters at such conferences.