Budding catechetical leaders serve parishes

Even as parishes and schools throughout the Diocese of Peoria prepare to celebrate Catechetical Sunday this weekend, four young women are hard at work exploring the role they will play as ministers of “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of Church.”

Laura Scrafford, Rebecca Mosca, Kathy Haninger and Anna Waechter are graduate students from the University of Notre Dame who are sharing a house in West Peoria while they work as Echo apprentices at parishes in the greater Peoria area. A faith formation leadership program developed by the university’s Center for Catechetical Initiatives, Echo gives students an opportunity to earn a master’s degree in theology through a combination of course work and hands-on parish ministry.

Returning as Echo apprentices this year are Scrafford and Mosca. Scrafford is working at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Morton under the guidance of Rick Barbour, director of religious education. Mosca, is being mentored by Terry Mischler, director of religious education at St. Mark’s Parish in Peoria.

New to the program are Haninger and Waechter, both graduates of Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio. Haninger is apprenticing with Sister Rachel Bergschneider, OSB, the pastoral associate at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Peoria Heights. Waechter will spend the next two years working with Judy Martin, director of religious education at St. Philomena’s Parish in Peoria and regional director of religious education for the diocese’s Peoria and Pekin vicariates.

While they are at different points in their journey, all four students said they are happy to be serving the church in a direct way, growing in their faith and knowledge of the church, and discerning what comes next.

The Echo program in the Diocese of Peoria is overseen by Father Douglas Grandon, assistant director of catchetics for the Diocese of Peoria.

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