Archbishop Sheen’s teaching will be a focus at school-year opening Institute

This year's Diocesan Catechetical Institute will be hosted by St. Vincent de Paul Church in Peoria and feature an afternoon-only format.

Teachers, religious educators and parishioners who are preparing for a new year of forming children in the faith will have an opportunity to come together and share ideas at the Diocesan Catechetical Institute on Tuesday, Aug. 13. It will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Church and School in Peoria.

It will begin at 12:30 p.m. and conclude with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at 4 p.m.

“This is a new format for us. We’ve never done just an afternoon,” said Dr. Sharon Weiss, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Peoria. “We’re having the principals meet at the Spalding Renewal Center first so we can do our annual back-to-school business meeting and then go over to St. Vincent de Paul.”

Msgr. Deptula

The keynote address will be shared by Msgr. Stanley Deptula and Bonnie Engstrom, who will talk about Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and then offer a break-out session. Katie Bogner, junior high religion teacher at St. Philomena School in Peoria, will give the second break-out session on Archbishop Sheen.

Msgr. Deptula is the executive director of the Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation, which has been promoting the El Paso native’s cause for beatification and canonization. He is the pastor of St. Matthew in Champaign and St. Boniface in Seymour.

Bonnie Engstrom attributes her son’s healing to the intercession of Archbishop Sheen. The fact that James Fulton Engstrom did not have vital signs for 61 minutes after his birth and is now a healthy 8-year-old has been investigated as the miracle needed for Sheen’s beatification.

Bonnie Engstrom


Other break-out sessions will feature: Sister Diane Vande Voorde, OSF, “The Impact of Christian Life: The Mission and the Minister”; Andrew Isbell, “Encouraging a Culture of Witness”; Father Matthew Hoelscher, “‘But Who Do You Say I Am’: A Study of Matthew 16:13-20”; Father Jacob Rose, “Earthen Vessels, Surpassing Power”; and Msgr. Philip Halfacre, “Teaching Our Students about Friendship.”

Also speaking will be Father Timothy Hepner, vocation director of recruitment, “Creating Authentic Community”; Father Patrick Henehan, vocation director of formation; Sister Bernadette Morse, FSGM, who will explore Matthew 16:15; and Sean Foster, principal of Central Catholic High School, Bloomington.

“It will be nice to start the school year as a faith community,” Weiss said. “This is the bishop’s desire. He loves the Catechetical Institute because it’s a way of bringing religious educators, schools, parishes, deacons — anyone that is associated with the faith — together so that they can be fed.”

The event is a collaboration between the Office of Catholic Schools, Office of Priestly Formation, Office of the Permanent Diaconate, Office of Stewardship and Development, and Office of Divine Worship. Sarah Hogan, director of religious education for St. Vincent de Paul Parish and School, also serves on the committee.

The cost is $10 per person, which includes refreshments. Weiss said half of the proceeds will be used for stipends for the speakers and the other half will go to St. Vincent de Paul Parish for hosting the gathering.

There is no charge for priests, religious, or permanent deacons.

Full-time teachers must register through their schools. Registration for all others is available online by visiting

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