Campaign helps diocesan employees earn master’s in catechetics and evangelization

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The Office of Youth, Campus, and Young Adult ministries has announced a new opportunity for diocesan employees to work toward a master’s in catechetics and evangelization without breaking the bank. 

Thanks to endowments created through the Rooted in Faith, Forward in Hope campaign, the diocese will pay for 95 percent of the tuition costs for 20 individuals willing to commit to the 36-credit program over the course of 4 years. The deadline to apply to the program is June 22. Provided the program goes well, the diocese hopes to offer the opportunity again after the first group graduates. 

"This program will allow many of the Directors of Youth Ministry in the diocese to now go back and receive a degree that will help them to be more effective in the profession they feel called to." Kevin Bohli

The completely online courses will be available through a cohort with Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, according to Kevin Bohli, director of the Office of Youth, Campus, and Young Adult ministries. While the course material can be viewed at any time, keeping it to students within the diocese affords the class the special opportunity to meet and participate in live skype sessions with professors.

When Bohli announced the development of the program in last August, he received a lot of interest from directors of youth ministry, religious education and other diocesan youth staff.

“Being a director of youth ministry is not something that many people aspire to as they are going through their high school and college years,” said Bohli. “As a result, very few people go to college and receive a theology degree with that purpose in mind.  They often discover a call to work for the church after they have started working in a different career.  This program will allow many of the DYMs in the diocese to now go back and receive a degree that will help them to be more effective in the profession they feel called to. Along with the knowledge gained through the coursework, they will also find a new confidence in how they pass on the faith to the volunteers, parent, and young people that they work with.”

Bohli completed his master’s in theology online through Franciscan University in January 2017. “Ever since then I have been thinking, ‘how can we make this happen,’” he said. 

His dream became a reality thanks to contributions to the campaign that was started in 2001 by Bishop Paul S. Loverde. It exists to support the formation and training of religious education and youth ministry leaders.

“Every year we look to find ways to train youth workers, which is where the certificate in youth ministry program came from,” Bohli said.

Francesca Gross, director of religious education and youth ministry at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Arlington, was excited to apply for the master’s degree. 

“I’ve been seeking higher education for a while. When Kevin announced this last year, I was just so excited. I have both my certifications but I wanted to get something on paper,” said Gross. “Why would you pass up an opportunity to learn more about you faith. Ever since I got into this position I have been just really seeking more and more understanding of my own faith.”

The diocese is requiring a three year commitment from those who earn the degree so the parish can benefit from the program. 

“This is a win-win program for the parish, the DYM and for the diocese as a whole,” said Bohli. “With as many as 20 DYMs and DREs receiving this degree, the diocese will benefit from having so many youth workers with advanced degrees in catechetics and evangelization.”

To apply

Go to www.arlingtondiocese.org/Youth-Ministry/Graduate-Degree/ 

Contact Jeff Ghering with the Office of Youth, Campus, and Young Adult Ministries at 703-841-2559 or jeffrey.ghering@arlingtondiocese.org for more information. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018