Diocesan catechetical leaders attend annual appreciation day

By Kenneth J. Souza
Anchor Staff

WAREHAM, Mass. — Like so many diocesan faithful who are committed to a given ministry, Kathy Russo, director of Adult Faith Formation and Spirituality at Our Lady of the Cape Parish in Brewster, appreciates the occasional opportunity to take a step back, pray and reflect.

And this year’s annual “mini-retreat” billed as a “Catechetical Leader Appreciation Day” recently held at the Sacred Hearts Retreat Center in Wareham was just the ticket.

Sponsored by the diocesan Faith Formation Office, this yearly gathering of parish directors of Religious Education and Faith Formation coordinators offered Russo and her fellow catechists “some nice opportunity for Spiritual refreshment, which of course is so vitally important to be able to continue to receive if you’re going to be doing the work of Faith Formation, and to be continually centered and re-centered in God,” she said.

The day-long event included a reflection and music by longtime Christian music composer and vocalist John Polce, along with a Mass celebration at 4 p.m. and a social hour and a 6 p.m. dinner.

“I really enjoyed it. The mini-retreat was just a beautiful gift,” Russo recently told The Anchor. “I really appreciated the time I had to mingle and to speak with the diocesan staff and parish staff that were there. Those kinds of events have given me the opportunity to form relationships and to have a give-and-take about the best practices in our ministry. And I always walk away from those encounters with ideas to consider bringing into my own ministry — so it’s both refreshing and very productive.”

This year’s main presenter, John Polce, is a member of the Catholic Association of Musicians. He has been featured on EWTN’s “Say Yes” with Dana; the National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Vision New England Men’s Conference. For more than 25 years, he has brought his message to thousands of people through his live performances, television and radio shows, and recordings in the U.S. and Great Britain. His performances include parish missions, renewal conferences, retreat weekends, and healing services.

“It was a mini-retreat in story and song, but he also did some talking and brought in some Scripture,” Russo said. “To me that was the biggest takeaway, to enjoy some of that Spiritual time — time to reflect, time to be with Jesus and to pray about my ministry and things that are going on. It was very helpful.”

Russo said it’s important to detach from the “busyness” that can sometimes overshadow the main goal of a ministry.

“It’s not easy to get out of the office sometimes — the work gets piled up and there are so many needs,” she said. “But yet I’m always so glad when I do it.”

“It’s also nice to have a support system and a way to connect with others who are doing similar work and who understand what the challenges are, and what the joys are as well,” she added. “I enjoyed it very much and I look forward to the next one.”

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