Echo: Grooming a New Generation of Catechetical Leaders

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Colleen Moore, the Director of the Echo program from the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life. The name “Echo” comes from the Greek word for “catechesis” meaning “to echo into” or “to resound.” The Echo program assists the Church in strengthening faith formation by recruiting highly qualified recent college graduates to earn a master’s degree in theology from the University’s Department of Theology while engaging in a two-year parish apprenticeship or theology teaching position in one of its partner dioceses.

Colleen Moore and Tom Quinlan
Colleen Moore, Director of the Echo program at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life, with Tom Quinlan, Director of the Religious Education Office for the Diocese of Joliet, IL

Echo partners with dioceses around the country who agree to host three, four, or five parish apprentices or theology teachers for two years. During that time, the apprentices live together in an intentional faith community while working full-time in parish catechetical ministry or teaching theology. The apprentices spend summers on Notre Dame’s campus, taking courses for their master’s degree in theology, and they spend the academic year serving in their assigned partner diocese.

Thanks Colleen and Echo for preparing a new generation of catechetical leaders!

If your diocese is interested in partnering with Echo, contact Colleen Moore at 574-631-4920 or cmoore(at)nd(dot)edu.

About Joe Paprocki 2748 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

5 Comments on Echo: Grooming a New Generation of Catechetical Leaders

  1. St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Spring, TX has been partnering with the ECHO program for the past 8 years. This is a great program and has been a blessing to our formation programs and parish. These young apprentices are very committed to their faith and to service. It is definitely a win-win situation for all involved.

  2. There is a huge need for catechetical leaders/DREs. I’ve been working in a Parish for 7 years as a DRE/Youth minister. They young adults don’t stay long. And the older population (most of the DREs) are nearing 60 or retiring.
    Unfortunately what I see is the young adults have a lot of energy, but we don’t stay long because Parishes have become businesses.
    I’m transitioning out too which makes me sad. Something that I felt was my vocation isn’t possible to continue because of all the rules the Church have made to prevent us ministering to children, the lack of benefits, hiring us full time and cutting us to part time after we are hired/relocate, no pension, low salary so not being able to save for retirement or a home.
    And most of all, not feeling respected.
    I’d love to say that I’m unusual, but I’ve watched almost every young adult in my Diocese walk away for the same reasons.

    • Jo, thanks for sharing your story. I’m so sorry to hear of how you have been treated. You’re so right that there is way too much of this happening. People like you are investing the time, energy, and money that they Church says is needed for effectively serving God’s people but then, in return, the Church does not provide the support needed to sustain people like you. I pray that God opens doors for you that will enable you to flourish in whatever capacity you choose and that you will be able to continue using your gifts to serve God’s people. Blessings.

    • Jo, I am in the same boat as you. I am currently in my first year as a DRE and have been contemplating stepping down for all the same reasons you’ve listed above. It’s so disheartening! Prayers for you in your new journey!

  3. Thanks! I pray for the future. I hope we are raising people as Jesus preached…. not like the scribes Pharisees He warned about.
    I think Pope Francis has a lot of wisdom.

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