On Monday morning, the catechetical ministry in New York lost a superb catechist and catechetical leader, Linda DeMarkey, who died after a short illness. For more than 30 years, Linda served God’s people. She was a walking, talking, teaching example of our motto, “Handing on the Faith with Excellence.”
I thought of what I could say of Linda. I could go on and on. She, however, would have preferred that I use this blog to promote excellence in catechesis. So that’s what I will do.
When Linda was a director of religious education at Holy Innocents Parish in Pleasantville, she attended our formation courses. She earned a master’s degree in religious education, too. She saw to it that her catechists attended catechist formation and other enrichment opportunities. Yes, those catechists were volunteers but that didn’t mean they could take their roles lightly. Linda instilled in them the importance of being the best prepared catechists they could be. She later became our Central/Southern Westchester regional director, teaching in our Catechist Formation and Catechetical Leadership programs and reaching a wider audience. She was a fabulous presenter.
I think Linda would want me to deliver this message to all directors and coordinators of religious education. Attend the leadership courses we offer and do all you can to make sure your catechists earn at least Level One and Level Two catechist formation. Even better, invite catechists who have already earned certification at these levels to continue to Levels Three and Four: the New York Catholic Bible School program, which she loved dearly and served as registrar for the last several years.
Linda believed passionately in the importance of a strong catechetical program to the children and families of parishes. She also knew that a catechetical program is only as good as its director/coordinator and its catechists.
So, follow her example. Make yourself the best catechist or catechetical leader you can be.