“I Owe it All To…” – Stories on the Journey

Becky shared the following about her mentor:

For me, my colleague and mentor, Charles Jumonville, from the Diocese of Baton Rouge is who I “owe it all to.” Charles sought me, when I was 24 years old, to come and work for the diocese. My initial reaction was “you have to be kidding!” After much thought and prayer, I finally said “yes.” His invitation changed the direction of my professional life. St. Ignatius suggests us to check the fruit of our decision…well, this decision 6.5 years ago led to and continues to lead to a fuller life both personally and professionally. Charles taught me how to be a pastoral minister, using both my head and heart, and I am forever thankful for him.

What’s your story? Our topic for this week is, “I owe it all to…” which means that we are sharing stories about our mentors. Who inspired and/or influenced you most in your role as a catechetical minister? Who do you try to emulate when you teach? What is/was so inspirational about this person’s approach to teaching that made you want to follow in his or her footsteps and become a catechist or DRE?

Share a brief story – just one or two paragraphs -describing your thoughts about someone who was a mentor for you.  Then, return each day this week to read others’ stories and to comment on them if you wish. You can also go back and comment on stories from previous weeks or to add your own stories.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

* All stories posted become property of Loyola Press and may be used in future publications
About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.


  1. Back when dirt was young, I attended undergraduate college at Gonzaga University. I have to attribute my love for theology and the passing on of faith to our children (am a DRE for over 20 years now) to two of my professors–Fr. Armand Nigro and Fr. Vincent Beuzer. They provided a dynamic model of love and devotion and excellent instruction. God became alive and relevant. I changed my major to theology and education. What is more important in the lives of our children than to get to know and love their God who knows and loves them! If we are available for God to work through us, we are blessed through God’s love for his children. I love what I do!!

  2. I owe so much to two wonderful mentors, Julie Shuyler, a high school religion teacher at Lebanon Catholic School in Lebanon, PA, and Jim Gontis, the Director of Religious Education for the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA. They have helped me by sharing their knowledge of the Catholic Faith that they love so much. Even more importantly, they are exemplary models of what it means to live our Faith. It’s very true that being in the presence of holy people makes a person long for holiness. Julie and Jim encourage me to strive for personal holiness by their example. They also make me want to share my own love of the Faith through word and example with the children, parents, and catechists in the parish religious education program that I direct.

  3. I owe it to my youth minister, Rosanne Bowen. God’s love shines through Rosanne. She obviously knew Jesus and radiated compassion and love. I wanted to be her when I grew up and do for other children what she did for me.

    As the Holy Spirit works, Rosanne and I were reunited eleven years ago. I was volunteering at my youngest son’s school and the Religious Education Coordinator kept talking about her friend Rosanne. One day she mentioned Rosanne’s husband’s name, Mark. I asked what was Rosanne’s last name and Ellen said, “Bowen,” to which I shrieked, “That’s my Rosanne.” Rosanne was the Religous Education Coordinator in a Catholic School in the next town. The even stranger twist to the story is that I grew up in NJ and moved to GA sixteen years ago.
    Of course, God is good all the time and I got to say THANK YOU to Rosanne for the gift of faith and service! I have been serving for sixteen years as a youth minister and DRE at Transfiguration Catholic Church in Marietta, GA.

  4. I ought all to a priest.
    He made me “see” the Invisible.
    He is a G(o)od teacher, a good preacher, a man of prayer, a man of God.
    What I am, what I teach, what I say is all that I’ve learned from him.
    After a few years of spiritual direction he asked me to be a catechist. I laughed out loud! I was still learning, what could I have to teach?
    He said: “Never mind”.
    Then I agreed.
    And I’m still learning. Meanwhile I teach to children the Beauty and the Blessing to be God’s children…

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