June 5, 2015

Director of catechesis elected president of national organization

By Sean Gallagher

Ken Ogorek, archdiocesan director of catechesis, was elected president of the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership (NCCL) during the organization’s national meeting held on May 18-21 in Buffalo, N.Y. His three-year term began at the end of the meeting.

NCCL was founded in 1967 to help catechetical leaders at the parish and diocesan levels in the United States. It grew out of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine movement that began in the 1930s.

As the organization approaches the 50th anniversary of its founding, Ogorek sees that it is at a “demographic crossroads.”

Noting that more than half of parish catechetical leaders are over 60 years old and more than 10 percent are over 70, Ogorek said that he hopes as NCCL’s president to encourage an affirmation of such leaders as they move toward retirement.

At the same time, he wants to encourage young adult catechetical leaders to have a more visible presence in the organization.

“There are a lot of young adult catechetical leaders out there, not only in parishes, but even at the diocesan level,” he said. “And even though these folks as a group have a presence at some level in NCCL, it isn’t as much of a presence as I believe it could be and should be.”

Ogorek said his nearly eight years of providing catechetical leadership in central and southern Indiana helped prepare him to lead NCCL.

“During my time in the archdiocese, I have walked with several parish catechetical leaders on that journey toward retirement,” he said. “I’m also the one who welcomes young, up-and-coming catechetical leaders into diocesan and parish ministry.

“I feel like I’ve really gained a perspective on the consistencies throughout the generations in catechetical leadership, but also some of the varied perspectives that these groups tend to bring.”

Ogorek believes that there will be a good give and take between what is happening nationally in catechetical efforts and the good religious education initiatives in central and southern Indiana.

“I learn a lot through NCCL that I could, in turn, put to use in serving parish catechetical leaders [in the archdiocese],” Ogorek said. “The flip side of the coin is that we have a great history of catechetical leadership in this archdiocese. I can often take things that folks are doing here and share them with those on a national scale.” †

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