All posts tagged: Echo

The Good of Communal Life

Note: For two years in the Echo program, one commits to living in Christian community with anywhere from two to five others, drawn together by serving the Church, praying together frequently throughout the workweek, and spending one evening each week specifically dedicated to growing in knowing each other and building a common life together. I sat at my community’s small dining room table with my heart overflowing in gratitude. The events of that evening gave me occasion to pause and consider the ways that I have been blessed to live in an intentional faith community with Sean, Shaughn, and Stephanie. With a plastic tiara on my head, toy scepter in my right hand, and a still-novel engagement ring on my left hand, I realized that my community had planned an evening to celebrate my recent engagement within our home.  They had known of the soon-to-be engagement for months, and kept the secret; now, reunited in our community apartment, they wanted to share in this life-changing joy. In two years of living together, my fellow apprentices …

Echo Alumni Interviews: Michele Chronister

In celebration of the upcoming graduation of Echo 12 on Saturday July 29, Church Life will feature interviews with select Echo alumni. Today’s interview is with Michele Chronister, of Echo 6. Michele served as an Echo apprentice at the parish of St. Pius X in Granger, Indiana. Church Life caught up with Sophie on her current work, renewing the Catholic Imagination, and her reflections on her time in Echo Are you currently working in theological education and/or ministry? What is your current role? I actually have several part time jobs that allow me to continue my ministry while raising my young children. I work as the social media manager for the Archdiocese of St. Louis’s Office of Natural Family Planning. I love getting to work with people on the diocesan level, and getting a sense of the good work being done throughout the archdiocese. St. Louis is very blessed with a very active Office of Natural Family Planning, committed to the well-being of the women in St. Louis, and some of the staff members are …

Echo Alumni Interviews: Sophie Lorenzo

In celebration of the upcoming graduation of Echo 12 on Saturday July 29, Church Life will feature interviews with select Echo alumni. Check out yesterday’s interview here. Today’s interview is with Sophie (Jacobucci) Lorenzo, of Echo 9. Sophie served as an Echo apprentice at the parish of St. Raphael in the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire. Church Life caught up with Sophie on her current work, renewing the Catholic Imagination, and her reflections on her time in Echo. CL: Are you currently working in theological education, ministry, or work in the Church? SL: I’m currently working at Loyola Press, a Catholic publisher of religious education curriculum in Chicago. My role is Social Media Specialist in the Marketing department. I coordinate messages to promote our products and content for blogs on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Loyola Press is a Jesuit ministry with a dedicated mission to be “people for others” following the Ignatian spiritual tradition. CL: How would you define the phrase “Catholic Imagination,” and how do you see yourself renewing the Catholic imagination through your …

Echo Alumni Interviews: Beth Franzosa

In celebration of the upcoming graduation of Echo 12 on Saturday July 29, Church Life will feature interviews with select Echo alumni. Check out yesterday’s interview here. Today’s interview is with Beth Franzosa, of Echo 2. During Echo, Beth served at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois. Now, Beth works at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, finishing up her tenth year there. As the Director of Adult Formation, she oversees religious formation opportunities for faculty and staff. Additionally, Beth teaches a senior Ethics course, and a sophomore class on Sacraments and Hebrew Scriptures for the Cristo Rey religion department. CL: How would you define the phrase “Catholic Imagination,” and how do you see yourself renewing the Catholic imagination through your work? BF: To me, the Catholic imagination seems to be a particular way of seeing the world, especially seeing and cultivating ways that our faith permeates our lives. What is a Catholic approach to work? To relationships? To social media, grocery shopping, commuting? To the big and small problems …

Echo Alumni Interviews: Michelle Ross

In celebration of the upcoming graduation of Echo 12 on Saturday July 29, Church Life will feature interviews with select Echo alumni. Today’s interview is with Michelle Ross, of Echo 10, who served as an apprentice for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston at Christ the Redeemer Parish. For the past two years she has Served at Nativity Catholic Church in Indianapolis as the Director of Religious Education and Pastoral Associate. CL: How do you see yourself renewing the Catholic imagination through your work? MR: My understanding of the Catholic Imagination is as a way of living and growing creatively in the truth offered to us through a personal relationship with Christ and his Church. When we awaken the Catholic Imagination we can dream and, in a way, play with the rich beauty and history of the teachings and tradition of the Church so that our encounter with Christ is lifted up and made present for the world. A lot of my energy at Nativity is poured into sparking the Catholic Imagination in our parishioners, friends and family. …

The All of It: Nourishing the Catholic Imagination through Echo’s Integrative Formation

“It is the starved imagination, not the well-nourished, that is afraid.” –E.M. Forster If we are to think of the Church as a field hospital, as Pope Francis has suggested, with “the mission to heal the wounds of the heart, to open doors, to free people, to say that God is good, God forgives all . . . God always waits for us” (Homily, Casa Santa Marta, 2.5.15), then those of us responsible for preparing ministers for this field hospital Church must place the nourishment of our students’ imaginations at the center of their and our work. It takes a great deal of courage and pastoral creativity to approach deep wounds, to open closed doors, to receive and speak rightly of God’s forgiveness and affection. In Echo, students engage simultaneously in various dimensions of the program—study, prayer, community, ministry, formation. But the key to a well-nourished Catholic imagination is not just being in Catholic places and doing and consuming Catholic things. Fragmented busyness might make us feel full but it often leaves us overfed and …

Reflections on Latino Ministry

“Others always have something to give me, if we know how to approach them in a spirit of openness and without prejudice.” As an apprentice in the Echo program, I have spent the better part of the past two years working in ministry with Hispanic people, most of whom are immigrants from Southern Mexico. Over the course of my apprenticeship, I have tried many times to put pen to paper with regard to my experience, willing myself to compose a piece of writing that could capture the challenges, joys, necessities, and singularity of Latino ministry. Until now, these earlier attempts were always met with some measure of self-resistance. The doubts would arise early on: how can I, an educated, white female, claim to say anything of merit about ministry with the Hispanic community? How could my reflections not just be an appropriation of another culture—the use of someone else’s story to further my own name? Is it okay to reflect theologically on experiences of life that don’t belong to me? At the end of the …

Formation Like the Dewfall

“Haec ergo dona, quaesumus, Spiritus tui rore sanctifica,” “Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall.” These words, prayed during Mass, at the time of the epiclesis – when the priest extends his hands invoking the Holy Spirit to consecrate the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, express the slow work of my formation. “Like the dewfall” are words that consistently capture my attention during the Eucharistic prayer, and I find myself echoing the prayer over and over again in my head, long after they escape the priest’s mouth, as if trying to retain the image forever, connecting my growing awareness of God’s love to the slow formative work of the dewfall. “Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall.”  Dew is a mysterious substance, a film of moisture that appears when we wake to each new day, coating the ground we walk on. This coat of condensation is subtle, not overpowering, …

Catechesis Through Love

My parish embodies a probably not uncommon reality in the shifting demographic and identity of American Catholicism. As I arrived at my parish a year and a half ago, our Director of Religious Education and her assistants were in dialogue about a rising number of high school students, specifically from the Spanish-speaking community, who were out of step with their sacrament preparation. At sixteen or seventeen years old, many had only received their first Eucharist a few years ago, and with Quinceñera expectations hurrying parents to the Religious Ed office by the dozens, these kids needed to be confirmed. “So what do we do?” asked our DRE. “Put them in Confirmation prep classes with a bunch of seventh graders?” Deciding that approach wouldn’t be particularly fruitful, we envisioned a class specifically for these high school students, to effectively catch them up on whatever catechesis they’d missed, fill the gaps in their knowledge, and get them ready to be fully initiated into the Church. So I offered to take on the class, found a brilliant co-catechist …

A Light on the Unknown Way: On Being Mentored

On August 14, 2015 at 9:00 am, I found myself at my Echo parish placement. Even though I had studied ministry as an undergrad and interned at a parish before, I was scared out of my mind to be at Christ the Redeemer. My fear came from not knowing what to expect—the unknown. I was a sojourner in a foreign land. Echo had placed me in Houston, Texas to work at a parish I had never heard of in an area where I had never been. Would I find a place here at this new parish with 6,500 families? Would I be ordered around to make copies and coffee, or would my gifts and talents be used well? Would my coworkers like me? Would I be able to find my way around? As a part of my commitment to Echo, I also had signed up to be mentored by a veteran catechetical leader. In addition to being unsure of the entire parish of Christ the Redeemer, I was apprehensive about my Echo commitment to be …