Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Catechetical Leadership Institute Expands Focus, Reach

By Laura Acchiardo The Message Intern
Brother Zachary Wilberding explains the significance of a stained glass window in St. Meinrad Archabbey.

Catechetical leaders from the Dioceses of Evansville and Owensboro got to know each other a little better while learning important spiritual skills at the Catechetical Leadership Institute sponsored by the Diocesan Office of Catechesis. For the second year in a row, St. Meinrad hosted participants for the four-day session.

Catechetical leaders from the Diocese of Owensboro participated for the first time this year. Institute organizers are working to continue growing the institute beyond the Diocese of Evansville.

"The team has been together for three years now," Sharon Vogler, a member of the Catechetical Leadership Institute staff, said. “And there are representatives from all over the diocese. From the beginning, it's been a collaboration between the Diocese of Evansville and St. Meinrad. This year catechetical leaders from the Diocese of Owensboro joined us. So it's been a matter of working with the national standards and trying to develop the works of the institute that will fit those."

Catechists split into two groups because the program has been organized to offer different tracks based on who previously attended the institute. Those attending for the first time complete a track that focuses on human formation. These participants learn about specific skills they can use in their programming. Those who have completed that track participated in sessions about spiritual formation. They take away fresh perspectives on how they can meet the spiritual needs of the people to whom they minister.

"This year is more hands-on activities," Linda Yeryar, a second-year participant who assists with the Children's Liturgy of the Word at St. Joseph Parish in Princeton, said. "Last year was a lot of sitting and learning. This year I liked it because it was a lot more hands-on involvement. It was really informative and in-depth, so I really did like this. And who wouldn't like candle decorating?!"

With presentations about Catholic icons, decorating spiritual candles, and the future of the Catholic faith, second-year participants gained a wealth and variety of knowledge on spiritual formation to take back to their own parishes.

"There are so many skills I plan to take away from this," Chad Breeden, teacher at Holy Redeemer Catholic School, said. “We talked about dealing with the different personalities of the kids and the different aspects of faith as a gift. It's not something we can teach. Really, the holistic aspect of the Catechism is what I take from this experience."

Not only were the topics of presentations vast, but also those who presented the topics. The  Catechetical Leadership Institute staff found those in the community who would best suit each topic – including priests, men and women religious, and members of the laity.

"This year is special because the presenters have come from a variety of places," Vogler said. "We have some of the monks from St. Meinrad, a couple of women religious, and lay people who work as catechetical leaders who are presenting also. It's just a wide variety of people, and it's about taking a look at who has the gift. The topics are set, so it's up to us to find who has the gifts to present them."

For more information on the Diocese of Evansville’s Catechetical Leadership Institute, contact the Office of Catechesis at (812) 424-5536.