After a three-hour interview with the pastor, I became the first full-time director of religious education at St. John Vianney Parish in Wyoming, MI. I served there for nine years with the title of “director of religious education.” The other title that was used in some parishes in the United States was “coordinator of religious education.”
At that time, the position director or coordinator usually encompassed responsibility for the planning, organizing, supervising and implementing a program of total religious education for children, youth and adults.
Following the Second Vatican Council, the late 1960’s and 1970’s were an exciting time for adult education, especially around themes of sacramental preparation, the liturgy, Church, etc. Adult faith formation was a very significant area of responsibility for the parish director of religious education.
Over the past 40 years, a variety of other titles have emerged and are being used in the 17,500 parishes in the United States. These include catechetical leader, director of faith formation/Catholic formation, pastoral minister, youth minister etc.
No matter which title is used, there is one essential component that is common to all and encompasses all other responsibilities. That is “administration.”
The word administration comes from two Latin words “ad” meaning “to” and “ministrare,” meaning “to manage.”
As parish directors of religious education, we are primarily responsible for the ministry of administration - to manage: plan and evaluate, organize, select curriculum, recruit and supervise volunteers for a faith formation program with many components that will meet the needs of the religious education of the adults, families, youth and children of the parish. As administrators, we are responsible for calling others to ministry.