A Catechetical Valentine

Michael Molinaro, coordinator of religious education at St. Mary’s in Poughkeepsie for the past 19 years, gets my catechetical Valentine this year. Here’s why.

If you were to survey the religious education programs in the parish of the Archdiocese of New York, the chances are very good that the most successful are also the friendliest.

So many times, hospitality on the part of the parish and the director or coordinator of religious education can make the difference between a program where children are just dropped off and picked with little parent involvement AND a vibrant program where everyone is participating enthusiastically – children, parents, siblings, grandparents and all.

At St. Mary’s, the wonderful pastor, Msgr. John Brinn, and Michael Molinaro always have the “Welcome” mat out. As a result, this old city parish has been able to develop and nurture a multi-cultural catechetical program that begins with hospitality and goes on to share the faith. The family catechesis experiences Michael offers twice a year are not just multicultural, but multi-generational, too. Read about Michael’s methods here.

By the way, there are more parish directors and coordinators of religious education like Michael Molinaro. Each brings a special reverence for the ministry of catechesis, along with graciousness, knowledge, and many leadership gifts to the parish catechetical program. I’ll tell you about more of these people as the year progresses.

Another Valentine’s note: this Tuesday, Feb. 9, Sr. Marie Pappas, CR, host of the Catholic Channel’s “Pathways of Learning” will be talking about this feast and its origins with the Girl Guides to Catholicism (better known as Anne Malloy, director of the New York Catholic Bible School, and yours truly). Tune at 1:00 pm to Sirius XM satellite radio: Channel 159 on Sirius, 117 on XM.

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