Conference for catechetical leaders inspires, affirms
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
Posted May 22, 2003
Rooted in Hope, Leading with Vision was the theme of the National Conference
for Catechetical Leadership that was held May 4-8 in St. Paul, Minn. Thirteen
catechetical leaders from this diocese attended.
According to Linda Anderson, director of catechesis for the diocese, the
location of the conference allowed more parish leaders to participate. She
considers it wonderful representation as many dioceses only brought diocesan
She particularly enjoyed the keynote speakers. Her favorite was Joel Barker.
"He talked about paradigm shifts and change," said Anderson.
"He told us that the world only grows ever more complex. Don't look for
things to get simpler because they are not and that goes for the church, too, as
well as life in general."
The keynote speaker told them that a leaders job is to find, recognize and
secure the future. He also pointed out that a leader is someone you will follow
to a place you will not go by yourself.
"We need leadership in the church and that is why we need opportunities
like this are good training for leaders," said Anderson.
Many others were impressed by the speakers.
"It was very good. I enjoyed the keynote speakers most of all,"
said Father Tim Fitzgerald, pastor at St. Mary in Everly and St. Louis in Royal.
"Bishop Gerald Kicanas (of Tucson) did a lot to affirm the people in their
ministry. Sometimes people in ministry do not get the affirmation they deserve
for all the work they do."
The bishop told them that the catechetical leaders make a difference in the
world because they give people hope. He encouraged them to find affirmation and
support where they could, but most of all, he asked that they trust the message.
Father Fitzgerald, who serves on the Diocesan Religious Education Advisory
Board, was also impressed that the Diocese of Sioux City had such good
representation at the conference.
Julie Anne Bovenmyer, DRE at Sacred Heart Church in Boone, pointed out that
she liked attending the conference because it was so geared toward her job.
"So often you will go to a conference an one workshop will be designed
for you, but at this conference, the whole thing was geared toward DREs and
leaders in the parish," she said. "It looked at what we do and gave us
encouragement and inspiration to keep doing our jobs."
The conference helped her realize that there are others out there who are
"struggling to stay afloat and there are also people out there who
appreciate what we do." Bovenmyer found so much value in the conference
that she wished it was longer so she could attend more workshops.
She acquired some practical tips to bring back to the parish catechists at a
workshop titled The Quilter, the Baker and the Candle Maker: Developing Yourself
as a Catechetical Leader that was facilitated by Kate Ristow, who is
contributing editor of Catechist Magazine.
"I wish all of the conferences could be this close so that we could
attend them every year," said Bovenmeyer.
Anderson pointed out that there is value in attending conferences not only
for the information aspect but also for the networking.
Angie Strohman of Holy Family Parish in Emmetsburg noted that this was the
first national level conference she has attended.
"It was good because you got to meet people in your field and find new
ideas," she said. "It gives you a whole bunch of information that you
never were aware of."
Strohman was impressed with The Feast of Life presentation that featured the
stories from the Gospel of Luke. This musical by Marty Haugen with Gary Daigle
was presented by Benilde-St. Margaret High School near Minneapolis following one
of the evening banquets. It was sponsored by William H. Sadlier, Inc. and GIA
She would like to bring the high school group to her parish in order to
inspire the youth here.
Anderson also found The Feast of Life so inspiring that she bought the DVD
and CD. Parishes are welcome to borrow it.