The Board of Trustees Election Process
The Board of Trustees governs the United States Association of The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGSUSA).The Board of CGSUSA has eight trustees, each of whom is elected for a three-year term. This year, members had the opportunity to elect two board members at the Annual CGSUSA Membership Meeting which was be held at The Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 East Lincoln Drive, Pleasant Valley, Arizona 85253. The meeting took place during the Servant’s Song Retreat. We gathered on Saturday, September 7, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. in the . the San Damiano Auditorium. Members were sent a digital ballot.
A board member acts as a sponsor, ambassador, fund raiser, and consultant for the Association. Members prayerfully consider if they or someone they know would be a good candidate for the board. To help with this process, the current board has put together information regarding expertise sought on the board at this time as well as expected responsibilities of board members.
The first term of board members Claudia Petursson and Katushka Olave expire this year. Both Claudia and Katushka offered to continue their service by standing again for election and were re-elected. To learn more about each ot them, please click on their names below:
Mary was sent to explore the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in 1992 by her pastor, who had seen an atrium at another parish. Falling in love with the work, she began to build the environment with a small team of catechists. She discovered the joy with which the children received the announcement of the Gospel and saw a deep, unique relationship between God and the child.
Taking to heart the National Association vision to “make the work accessible to all,” she led a team of catechists and parents and began building atria for the service of their children at St Anne’s in Gilbert, Arizona. As she formed the atria, Gilbert quickly changed from a small bilingual farming community to the fastest growing city in the country. As the Director of the Atrium she found herself constantly faced with the question “Is this work for all our children? “ As the the atria grew to hold 1200 children, the answer was always “Yes.” She thought not about “Can we?” but rather “How can we?” At St. Anne’s, Mary developed a vision that goes beyond parish borders, forming friendships which reach out both nationally and internationally. Although she no longer serves on the staff at St. Anne’s, Mary remains a catechist and formation leader in her parish.
Mary has been a formation leader since 1997, giving three to four courses a year at home and abroad. While participating in the international The Word, Eucharist and the Child conference in Assisi in 1997, Mary heard of Marie Christlieb’s work with Totonaco people of Puebla, Mexico and their great need. Mary returned home and the next summer she and members of her community traveled to Puebla to see how they might help and build an atrium, but discoverd the best way to serve the people was to send three of the Totonaco to Rome to study with Sofia herself. While there she has found that living with people in a third world environment teaches so much about Jesus’ love for poor and the least. Since that time she has also served as formation leader to those in the Diocese of Brownsville who serve the children of migrant workers, the Diocese of Toledo with En Camino Ministry who serve the migrants there, and the San Carlo Apache Reservation in Arizona. She and Lourdes Vazquez also worked with The Franciscan Friars in Honduras and the Missionaries of Charity in the East Coast Region in New York, the Midwest Region in Chicago, thier Noviate in California. She as also worked with the Missionaires in the Philippines and in Kolkatta, India.
Mary has written of her missionary work in the 1999 and the upcoming 2010 Journal of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She has also written of her parish work in the 2003 Journal of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, co-authored with Lourdes an Occasional Paper of the Center for Children and Theology on a Bilingual Atrium, and has written articles that appeared in the 2001 and the 2006 volumes of Echoes, the newsletter of the Center for Children and Theology. Mary also developed and directed the DVD, The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: Where a Child Can Fall in Love with God.
Mary served on the Board of the National Association from 2000-2006. She was the first Development Committee chair, a founding member of CGS Fund Advisory Board and introduced the publication of The Found Coin. She was also a member of first cohort at Aquinas Institute to receive a Masters in Pastoral Ministry in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in January of 2010. She has worked extensively as an advocate for CGS in the Diocese of Phoenix since 1999 as catechist, a Director of Children’s Catechesis, and since 2003, as a presenter and formation leader for diocesan catechists and catechetical leaders.
Mary has been happily married for 37 years and delights in the friendship and love of her husband. She has three grown daughters with one grandson and another on the way. Her youngest daughter was the only child to live the atrium experience; the oldest has served as a level one catechist. As a native of Brooklyn New York, she loves the big city. She now lives in and loves the desert of Arizona and the dirt roads of the poorest of the poor. While Mary’s passion is for the work of CGS, she enjoys long walks with her husband, traveling anywhere in the world, and cooking big Italian family dinners on the weekends with her family and friends.
Karen has a son and two daughters who have all been involved in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd as children but who are teenagers and young adults now. She credits her husband for his great support of CGS and has been happily surprised by his gifts in material making over the years. Outside of CGS, among several areas of interest, Karen enjoys watching baseball games, dance performances, and taking long walks with her family.
Mary Heinrich began her journey with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in 2001 when her daughter was three years old. She has been trained in all three levels of the catechesis, and is a formation leader throughout the United States, working primarily in Level I and Level II courses. She works in the atrium at St. Augustin Catholic Church in Des Moines, Iowa and St. Pius X Catholic Church in Urbandale, Iowa. Her involvement as catechist and formation leader has been a gift for her.
Mary has served as a Director of Faith Formation in the Catholic Church for twenty-nine years, as well as a consultant and editor for religious education publishers. She earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and a master’s degree in Pastoral Studies in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri. Mary has served as Chair of the Board of the National Association, and she has served on the Membership Committee, TLM Fund Committee and the LEAVEN Committee.
Her husband, Kurt is a permanent deacon and teaches theology at the local Catholic high school, is a Level One catechist, and enjoys making materials for the atrium. Their daughter, Clare, is a Level One catechist and enjoys working in the atrium. When not immersed in CGS, Mary enjoys reading, art and spending time with her family.
Debbie Dobson joined the staff of CGSUSA in March 2016 serving the Office of Formation. Her duties include receiving and processing all courses registered with our association as well as assisting with various formation projects and events.
Molly’s recent experience has been in Healthcare as a Project Manager, Implementation Specialist and Practice Administrator. While working as a Practice Administrator and Billing manager she managed employees, processed payroll and performed bookkeeping functions.
Through thoughtful prayer, she felt God was taking her on a different path, one where she can work for an organization with a higher purpose. She feels blessed to be a part of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and share in the passion for God’s dear children.
Lisa started her work in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Parish in Gilbert, AZ in 2004. She began in child care and was led to formation training in 2007 by Mary Mirrione and her desire to learn more. She has completed both Level I and Level II formation training and is currently in a Level II atrium with Reconciliation age children.
Ernie started her work in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Parish in Gilbert, AZ in 2001. She was gently persuaded into formation training by Mary Mirrione and was so delighted with the method that she has continued serving in St. Anne’s CGS. She has completed both Level I and Level II formation training and is currently in with children in a Level II atrium. She loves working with children of all ages and has also served children in Level 1.
Ernie is a native of Arizona and has two extraordinary adult daughters and two amazing grandchildren, Marissa and Kyle.
Elizabeth’s journey with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd began when priest new to her parish asked her to attend a presentation on a children’s formation program he wanted to introduce to the parish. This simple presentation of the parable of the Good Shepherd led her to formation in Level I, Level II, and Level III and to service in atria in three different parishes over the next 10 years.
After serving as project manager for the transition to a new web platform in 2019, Elizabeth now serves CGSUSA as Technology Administrator. Today, she supporting members interacting with and navigating the new website and managing additional website development and integration projects. Elizabeth also supports all technology-enabled projects and future planning. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CGSUSA Board of Trustees
Barbara promotes CGS to anyone she meets, and has spread the word about CGS through articles she wrote for Pastoral Liturgy magazine published by LTP. Barbara has raised funds for CGS and other non-profits at the local level and enjoys reaching out to individuals and organizations who may not know CGS.
In the summer of 2016, a year after joining the board, Barbara was elected Board Chair when Mary Heinrich stepped down to work for the Association. Barbara’s areas of interest on the board have been governance and intellectual property.
Patti’s involvement in the work of CGS has spanned 20 years, beginning with her two sons’ involvement as three-year olds. From 1994 to 2004, she was blessed to be part of a rich and supportive regional catechist community that grew from shared experiences of formation and support. She completed all three levels of formation, acted as a volunteer program director for her parish (15 catechists and 40 aides serving over 200 children) and helped to host a National course in Scottsdale.
In 2001- 2004, she took time away from directing a parish program to complete her MA in Theology and, during this time, returned to being a catechist in a Level I atrium. But God called her to a job opportunity at Brophy College Preparatory, a Jesuit boys’ high school, where she worked as Development Director for ten years, until 2015. While she had to give up her time in the atrium, from 2005-2010 she worked with Tina Lillig and the National office staff and board to share with them what she was learning about development, fundraising, and not-for- profit organizations.
Patti is in the middle of her second term on the board. She is excited to see how CGS continues to grow and spread around the country (and the world) and feels the board must continue to focus on the long term sustainability of the national association. With her faith, the graces of her years of work in CGS, a solid grounding in development and fundraising, and most important, reverence for the child, Patti humbly offer her gifts in service of the association.
Micki Hill is a passionate lay minister and advocate for children in the church. In 2004, she was called to honor the youngest in the church and offer them an opportunity to celebrate relationship with our Good Shepherd. After a computer search for teaching resources she found information about a Level I course in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. “It is as if I had a hunger that I was unaware of until I received that first morsel and then it was the only food that satisfied.” She feels that God had carefully prepared her for that moment. In her career as a Landscape Designer, Micki has learned the importance of preparing a site for fruitful harvest. The seeds scattered generously by our good Lord were waiting for harvest.
A catechist in all three levels and a recognized formation leader for Level I, Micki is now working toward recognition as a Level II formation leader. She holds a Certificate in Theology from the University of the South, Sewanee and is working toward her Master’s degree in Pastoral Studies in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri.
Micki is on staff at The Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village, North Carolina as the Dean’s Assistant for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Children’s Formation. She has served in the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina for over 20 years in various ways. She has mentored Education for Ministry and served as past chair of Lifelong Formation for the Diocese. Her work has involved coordinating ministries for adults and children and developing and managing budgets for these and other ministries. She currently serves on the Diocesan Executive Council and the Bishop’s Strategic Budget Committee. Micki is honored to offer her gifts and passion for service to CGSUSA and brings an experience of working with vestries, clergy, committees, and program directors.
In 2005, Angela heard the voice of the Good Shepherd calling, and she reverted to the Catholic faith. The next ten years were a whirlwind as she got married, moved from Missouri to Ohio, earned her doctorate in clinical psychology, and started her family. As she and her husband grew closer to God, they developed a great appreciation for the community of the sheepfold. For two years, they commuted a significant distance several times a week to be a part of the faith family at Little Flower Parish in Canton, Ohio, before taking the plunge to move further from work to be near their faith home. In 2015, when Little Flower decided to start a Level I atrium, she and 10 other parishioners completed Level 1 training.
From her first day, it was clear that CGS was unlike anything she had ever experienced. The presence of the Good Shepherd in her own life grew and she fell in love with walking alongside the children and listening together. God worked miracles in that first year at Little Flower. The seeds that were planted grew and by the next year, there was a need for Level II atriums and more Level II trained catechists. Angela and two others responded to this need by agreeing to once more build new atriums and simultaneously undertake training. The unprecedented growth continued. As of the 2018-2019 school year, Little Flower has two Level I atriums, two Level II atriums, a combined Level II/III atrium, and a Level III atrium with sessions two days a week. Angela is registered to begin her Level III training in Pittsburgh in 2019.
As a Clinical Psychologist, Angela spends her professional life confronting the deep wounds and brokenness which can plague the human person. For her, the greatest joy of the atrium is its cosmic realities. She finds in the atrium a place where children and adults can encounter full acceptance and gain a true understanding of their value, place, and purpose in their homes, in their communities, and in the greater context of the plan of God. She feels that the sense of intentional connectedness, irreplaceable worth, and essential belonging that is the natural fruit of the atrium life is the greatest gift of CGS to a hurting world. She offers the wealth of her training and education in psychology, as well as her extensive experience in program development, association leadership, and advocacy to CGSUSA in gratitude for God’s gift of CGS in her life and the lives of her four children.
Katushka’s journey began more than ten years ago when she felt a call, and discovered the marvelous (maravilloso) love of God through her work as a catechist with the children in the Catechisis of the Good Shepherd at her home parish, Immaculata Conception in Durham, North Carolina. Since that time, her relationship with God has continued to grow, and the most wonderful thing is to be able to lead the children through these green pastures to marvel at the love of God.
Katushka is the Pastoral Associate at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and advocates for the needs of the Latino Parishioners. She is also the head of the Latino Parents Playgroup which serves Spanish-speaking mothers with children ages 0-3 years. Each group meets once a week for fellowship, music, sharing ideas, developing nurturing parenting skills, information sharing and providing referrals to community resources. She helps to empower parishioners to live lives of justice, healing, compassion and peace manifesting the Reign of God in Durham through formation in Catholic Social Teaching, direct service to “the least among us,” advocacy, community organizing, mental health and global solidarity.
Katushka is originally from Bolivia, South America. She has lived in Durham, North Carolina for 29 years with her husband Juan and three daughters Francis, Paula and Sebastiana.
Lynn’s journey in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd began in local formation in Pennsylvania for Level I about twenty-five years ago, and from that moment on, she has remained committed, dedicated and passionate about this work. With the help and support of many, she launched and has led this work at all three levels in her home parish. She is currently serving as one of two catechists for Level III each Sunday morning. Her official volunteer leadership position within her church is titled Children’s Catechesis Coordinator, which includes sitting on the Sunday School Steering Committee.
In 2000, Lynn became a recognized formation leader and began offering formation to adults in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. She has led Level I, Level II and Level III adult formation courses for the past 15 years and she enjoys remaining in touch with many of these regional catechists. In 2007, she was fortunate enough to travel to Rome and visit with Sofia Cavalletti in her home and atria for a number of hours. What a joy and treat that was! Being with Sofia helped expand Lynn’s understanding of the international scope of this work and experience the source of where it all began. She was further inspired by the International Event held in Phoenix that 2014. Lynn has provided leadership in forming the Holy Triangles Regional CGS Group, encompassing catechists from New Jersey, Central and Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. They have all gathered for two regional events so far.
In 2013, Lynn joined the Membership Committee for the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, further broadening her experiences with this work that has captured her heart. She currently serves as the chair of the Membership Committee and hopes to further develop the regional groups. Since Lynn joined the Board of Trustees for CGSUSA in 2014, she has settled into her role on the Executive Committee of Secretary. She also works on the Governance Committee, helping to generate committee charters and propose needed by-law changes. She hopes to work with the Methodist Committee in upcoming years.
Susan Stuhlsatz-Reese (Sue Reese) never expected to follow in the footsteps of her mother by working in the religious formation of children. She says that CGS is a gift that fell into her lap, and she’s been passionately involved ever since.
Sue has been active in the atrium since 1997, proclaiming and listening to the Word of God with children, and doing the behind the scenes work with the help of many hearts and hands to create and
maintain the atrium. In 2010 she started working with formation courses as a Level I formation leader and is now working toward Level II formation. In 2014 she began volunteering with the Membership Committee with CGS. She relishes working with the families of babies, and is looking forward to the new challenges of beginning a Toddler atrium and a regional association.
Past experience includes working as a pharmacist manager of a small store, serving as a Cubmaster and on the Boy Scout committee, serving as Vice President of a youth hockey club, and serving on the Youth Faith Formation Commission at church. This allowed her to gain experience in budgeting and fundraising, and to hone her communication skills.
Sue is married to a wonderful, supportive man who helps her with making materials and navigating the joys of family life with three grown children, and one grandson. Her household is completed with the presence of two pampered dogs.