August 15, 2014

Catholic Education Outreach / Gina Fleming

Catechists to focus on ‘Our Future, Our Families’ during 2014-15 program year

Welcome to the 2014-15 program year for youth ministry, religious education, young adult ministry and Catholic schools in our parishes and communities across central and southern Indiana!

Pastors, pastoral associates, youth ministers, campus ministers, parish administrators of religious education, principals and high school presidents gathered recently for our annual administrators’ conference. This year’s theme, “Our Future, Our Families,” is highlighted best by St. John Paul II’s quote, “The future of humanity passes by way of the family.”

The annual two-day experience allows catechetical leaders to celebrate the Eucharist, pray, learn and grow together in preparation for another successful year of service in the archdiocese.

The keynote presenter was a champion of family life, Chris Padgett, who is the father of nine children and a talented songwriter/musician. To learn more about him, visit

Perhaps one of the most compelling messages he shared was how powerful Mary’s “yes” was when God asked her to be the Blessed Mother of his Son, our Lord and Savior. Her “yes” allowed for our salvation, and her role as Mother of the Holy Family is one for us to strive to emulate in our own vocations as spouses, parents and caregivers to others.

“Our Future, Our Families”—Another highlight of the gathering included a presentation by Father Eric Augenstein, director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Father Augenstein shared a kindergarten through 12th grade online curricular supplement to assist in teaching youth about vocations. These teaching modules are being purchased through the Vocations Office budget, which would allow all schools, faith formation programs, and youth ministry programs to use the resources free of charge. What a wonderful way to sustain and grow our future as a Catholic Church!

“Our Future, Our Families”—Given that we are all one family in Christ, Annette “Mickey” Lentz, chancellor of the archdiocese, shared with us the current status of the “Connected in the Spirit” planning process, which is helping Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin and parish leaders “discern where God is leading the Church in southern and central Indiana” in the future, emphasizing the desire of the archdiocese for all to be unified in mission, spirit and understanding. Lentz clearly articulated the earnest effort of all involved in the process.

“Our Future, Our Families”—This venue was a wonderful place to celebrate members of our archdiocesan family who have served as exemplary role models and leaders in our various ministries within the Office of Catholic Education. Congratulations to Msgr. Paul Koetter, Matthew Hollowell, Charlene Witka and Cathy Andrews for being honored this year!

On behalf of my colleagues in the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education and all those serving in our parishes and schools, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve as secondary teachers of our Catholic faith, recognizing that the primary responsibility rests on the shoulders of parents.

Know that we gladly say “yes” to our roles within the Office of Catholic Education and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Together with Christ, “Our Family” strives to enhance “Our Future” as an archdiocese.

(Gina Fleming is superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.)

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