UNIVERSITY of NOTRE DAME

INSTITUTE FOR CHURCH LIFE

Echo 13 St. Petersburg

Patrick Phelan

Echo Class:
Echo 13 Parish Apprentice

Parish & Diocesan Placement:
St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church
Diocese of St. Petersburg

Hometown:
San Diego, CA

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
Holy Cross College, 2016
Theology, Communications
Philosophy (minor)

What is your favorite quote, song, or image?
All time favorite song has to be “Mr. Brightside.” No other song gets you more pumped up and ready for the day than “Mr. Brightside.”

What have you enjoyed most about your Echo experience thus far?
Coming home from a day of parish ministry and knowing that my other four community members will be at home. It has been such a blessing to have other people in this program, due to how unique Echo is, living together and encouraging me everyday.

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned in Echo?
The most significant thing I have learned is patience. Notre Dame has prepared us so well over the summer to go out and serve, but entering into a brand new parish environment is quite humbling because you have to start from scratch again in learning how everything works. Echo has taught me patience.

What do you hope to do after Echo?
I hope to continue working in a parish as a youth minister or a director of religious education.

Jenna Sommer

Echo Class:
Echo 13 Parish Apprentice

Parish & Diocesan Placement:
Corpus Christi Catholic Church
Diocese of St. Petersburg

Hometown:
Austin, TX

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
University of Dallas, 2016
Theology
Education (minor)

What is your favorite quote, song, or image?
I am obsessed with Jesus, becoming a saint, the color yellow, and sunflowers (in that order). A quote that I love that sums these all up is:”Like sunflowers turn around to the sun, you were made to turn around to the Son and follow Him.”

What attracted you to Echo and helped you decide to join the program?
Echo is the best program to shape someone mentally, personally, spiritually, and professionally all at the same time. I have not found any other program like it. Becoming a part of Echo was a dream of mine and I am so grateful to God and the Echo program for enabling me to join this amazing program.

What do you hope to do after Echo?
I would love to be an inspiring theology teacher in a Catholic high school. Christina Dehan, an Echo 2 alum, inspired me in my faith journey when she taught me in high school and I want to do the same as she did for me to other high school students. Also, I am thankful for this experience in the parish beforehand because it helps me gain a perspective on the inner workings of a parish environment. Hopefully, I will gain insight that will help me in the school environment later on.

What advice would you give to Echo applicants?
For each question on the application, try to answer it by connecting it to a personal story. It makes your application memorable and unique. No one shares the same exact life stories as you do.

Caitlin Stutzke

Echo Class:
Echo 13 Parish Apprentice

Parish & Diocesan Placement:
Nativity Catholic Church
Diocese of St. Petersburg

Hometown:
La Mirada, CA

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
Loyola Marymount University, 2016
Theology

What is your favorite quote, song, or image?
“Let all you do be done in love.”
-1 Corinthians 16:14

What attracted you to Echo and helped you decide to join the program?
I was initially attracted to Echo because it was an opportunity to do both full time ministry and earn my masters degree (and the fact that the masters degree was debt free also didn’t hurt). However, the reason I fell in love with the program was Echo’s commitment to holistic formation. Echo is so much more than a masters program, or a service program, or a professional development program. As an Echo apprentice I am given tools and encouraged to engage in the formation of my whole person. I am deeply convicted that Echo is not just a two year program that I have committed to, but the way that the Holy Spirit is shaping me at this time in my life into the person that I am called to be.

What kinds of things are you up to in your Echo parish?
At my parish I am the apprentice at the Faith Formation Center, the self proclaimed “happiest place on campus.” I have the privilege of working with and learning from a parish staff that has a wealth of ministerial experience. I serve primarily in children’s religious education. I assist in coordinating weekly faith formation classes and the process of preparation for the sacrament of confirmation. I also coordinate the team of catechists that will accompany a group of 20 young people who are in RCIA adapted for children. Our group includes kids ranging in age from 7-17 as well as their parents. I am beyond excited to journey with these kids as they prepare to be welcomed into the Body of Christ at the Easter Vigil this year! What a Blessing!

What do you hope to do after Echo?
There more I work in ministry, the more I am convinced that there is nothing else that I would rather do with my life. As far as specifics go for my plans after Echo, you’ll have to take up that question with the Holy Spirit.

Nick Frega

Echo Class:
Echo 13 Parish Apprentice

Parish & Diocesan Placement:
St. Timothy’s Catholic Church
Diocese of St. Petersburg

Hometown:
Southington, CT

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
Fairfield University, 2016
Religious Studies, Politics
Economics, Catholic Studies (minors)

What is your favorite quote, song, or image?
My favorite quote is, “If more people valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world,” from J.R.R. Tolkien. I think it emphasizes the way we view the world as people who live in community.

What kinds of things are you up to in your Echo parish?
I’ll be a mentor for both middle schoolers and high schoolers, I’ll teach 5th grade Faith Formation, and I’ll run a program for adults to be confirmed. I also will be organizing an event through Catholic Relief Services and Stop Hunger Now to send meals to Burkina Faso and teach Solidarity, one of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned in Echo?
I have learned that the Catholic world is very large. There are so many different ways people pray; they use the Scriptures, they use the rosary, they use the sacraments. I’ve learned that people focus on different things; people focus in liturgy in their studies, some focus on CST, some people focus on mysticism. Exhausting the Catholic tradition would be impossible.

What advice would you give to Echo applicants?
Trust the staff. They know these dioceses, they know the mentors, and the application gets them a good sense of you. My placement thus far has been a delight, and it wasn’t my first choice. Trust their discernment process.

Meredith Gosda

Echo Class:
Echo 13 Parish Apprentice

Parish & Diocesan Placement:
St. Stephen Catholic Church
Diocese of St. Petersburg

Hometown:
Sugar Land, TX

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
Texas A&M University, 2014
Philosophy

What are your favorite hobbies and activities outside of your ministry work?
Favorite hobbies include coffee drinking, guitar playing, camping, hiking, and anything that includes mountains.

What have you enjoyed most about your Echo experience thus far?
The academic experience at Notre Dame this summer was incredible: I was absolutely humbled to sit before brilliant theology professors and have the privilege of learning the richness of our Catholic faith tradition. I just kept thinking, “the universal Church needs to know this!”

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned in Echo?
That the Lord’s work is slow and Notre Dame is hard, but it is all worth it.

What do you hope to do after Echo?
I cannot say with certainty where the Lord will call me, but I would like to be involved with mission work or teach theology in a high school setting.