ALLOUEZ — Some may call it good timing, but Katie McAllister knows there’s much more at work. She credits the “Holy Spirit, alive and well” for guiding her through transitions on her parish ministry path.
As the communications and technology coordinator at Resurrection Parish, she is responsible for external communications and public relations. Her work includes livestreaming, website postings, video production, direct mail, social media, software/technology support and training — and much more.
The variety energizes her, said McAllister.
“What I love about my position is I can help others grow closer to God,” she said. “I can present new ways of how somebody can look at their relationship with God.
“My big thing is stewardship. I’ve been to stewardship conferences. I embrace this whole idea that God has given us gifts. What do we do with those gifts? I feel that God has given me the gift of working with technology. How can I use it to further the message of Christ, make this world a better place?”
McAllister grew up in Mill Center outside of Green Bay and had considered teaching or nursing as career pursuits: she decided to study education at St. Norbert College in De Pere.
It was at St. Norbert College where she grew in her faith.
“St. Norbert is where I was really introduced to higher level theology, higher level faith,” she said. “That’s when I got hooked on exploring my faith. People like Dr. Howard Ebert (professor of theology and religious studies) opened my eyes to a new way to look at faith and just the beauty of the Catholic faith. That’s where I really started growing.”
McAllister’s student teaching experience at a Catholic school affirmed that she wanted to work in that environment.
Following graduation in 2007, she explored teaching positions. Only a few weeks before the new school year started, she received a call about a first-grade job share at Resurrection School (now Fr. Allouez Catholic School Resurrection Campus).
“That started my career at Resurrection. I can’t imagine myself anywhere else,” she said.
In addition to first grade, McAllister taught kindergarten for a year, followed by middle school and K-8 technology before moving to second grade and then a third-fourth grade multi-age class.
Resurrection then began exploring new ways of doing youth ministry. Sheila DeLuca, parish pastoral associate and family life director at that time, sought McAllister to move into that role.
“This was the answer,” she said of a desire she had to change her career path. “I had been burned out from teaching but wanted to be at Resurrection. I knew this was the community I wanted to be a part of. You pray and you pray and then the door just flings open. I did youth ministry, middle and high school religious education, confirmation and I loved it.”
Norbertine Fr. Tim Shillcox, former pastor at Resurrection, asked her to change from youth minister into her current communications and technology coordinator position in January of 2019. A year later, the pandemic hit.
“We could not have done what we did as a parish if I was not in that role,” said McAllister. “The livestreaming, our weekly ‘Church at Home,’ all those things that are really communication/technology based kept connections (to parishioners) open.”
“Church at Home” provides practical resources for families designed to empower them to live their faith at home. “Reveal,” a podcast produced with Tony Pichler, mission outreach coordinator at Resurrection, is another favorite project for McAllister.
She embraces the telecommunication opportunities.
“Technology is logical, and I like logical things,” she said. “I love puzzles. Technology is a puzzle.”
Stewardship for McAllister expands beyond the parish.
Since 2017, she has served as a volunteer for the Allouez Beautification Committee, a group that purchases and maintains flowers displayed in public areas in the Allouez community and also coordinates flag displays on holidays. McAllister assists with website design, including the capacity for online donations.
McAllister is also the core technology consultant for Whatsoever You Do, Inc., an umbrella organization that, through works of love and mercy, supports five programs.
Her efforts include oversight of the online presence of “Virtually Sunday” reflections and “One Word” reflections offered by Whatsoever You Do. She is also an active volunteer for the nonprofit’s programs, including the StreetLights Outreach team which engages people living on the margins and provides assistance and support where needed and welcomed.
Through her involvement with Amani Outreach, another Whatsoever You Do program, McAllister has also built a friendship with one of her neighbors. Amani Outreach volunteers visit the homes of seniors and people with disabilities to engage in conversation and perform routine maintenance, such as changing light bulbs.
“I help her with tasks. It’s a relationship,” said McAllister. “It hits you when someone starts crying because they are just so thankful that you made time for them. It gives me energy. It makes me happy to go out and do something good with my time.”
Recently, McAllister began working with the A New Genesis community. She runs their videoconference meetings.
“They want to focus on the meetings and don’t want to worry about the technicalities of the meeting,” she said. ”This is something I can do. God calls us to help.”
McAllister describes herself as an “old soul,” based on her fondness for music from the likes of Frank Sinatra and classic television shows, including “Green Acres” and “I Love Lucy,” that she discovered during her youth.
She also calls herself an “introvert” who learned how to step out of her comfort zone to interact with new people.
“It’s about spreading the Gospel,” McAllister said. “People will say to me, ‘Katie, you always have a smile on your face.’ Probably the easiest way I can live my faith around others is just by being joyful.
“I’ve met so many interesting, amazing people that I would have never met in any other walk of life,” she said about working in parish ministry.
Among those are the staff members at Resurrection, she said.
“There’s no way I could do what I do without the support of the staff around me,” said McAllister. “I have an amazing pastor (Fr. Tom Reynebeau). Fr. Tom and Mary (Vanden Busch, business administrator) do a good job of reminding me that what I am doing is good enough.
“I always work for perfection. You don’t always find perfection. They help me to see my gifts and what I can do.”