The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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June 8, 2001 Issue
Local News

Fifteen women accept commission to church

June ceremony caps years of training

By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor

Fifteen people will be commissioned for church ministry in the diocese by Bp. Robert Banks at a 7 p.m. vespers service on Friday, June 8, in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Green Bay.

"These women have truly accepted their vocation as eccliesial lay leaders," said Sr. Florence Youngwirth, ANG, director of the Commissioned Ministry Leadership Formation Program (CMLF). "Each one exemplifies her love for the Church and her commitment to do all to make the church alive and available in this time of restructuring the diocese."

The 15, who are all involved in ministry at their home parishes, have completed the diocesan formation program. Sr. Youngwirth says that the program helps these people answer their baptismal call "to serve the church and the wider world in the name of the Servant Christ."

The CMLF program, a collaborative venture of the diocese and Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, is designed to prepare people for ministry at the parish level. There are emphases in five areas: pastoral ministry, worship, religious education, youth ministry and business management. All courses are granted undergraduate credit through Silver Lake. Dr. Robert Berchmans is the academic program coordinator.

"The ministers who will be commissioned by the bishop on Friday, have grown immensely in this three-stage process of Commissioned Ministry," said Tony Pichler, associate director of the CMLF program. "Through a series of classes, days and evenings of reflection, journey with a sponsor, and spiritual direction, each minister has gained a great deal in terms of knowledge, skills and spiritual growth. Each newly commissioned minister will make a contribution to her parish in bringing forth more fully the reign of God."

Since the program first began in the 1980s, 152 persons have been commissioned as ministers for the diocese. Another 124 individuals are in the program. These include candidates for the diaconate, who continue to take classes in the program, but are not commissioned since they will be ordained.

The CMLF program has been accredited by the United States Catholic Conference since 1995.

Of this year's 15 students, three will be commissioned in pastoral ministry; three in religious education and one in both religious education and youth ministry; five in liturgy; and three in business management.

One of those to be commissioned in pastoral ministry, Debbie Travis of Oshkosh, was also commissioned in liturgy in 1999.

Dorothy Boutin of Two Rivers will be commissioned in two areas of specialization: religious education and youth ministry.

Pastoral Ministry

Ann Palm is a member of St. Raphael Parish, Oshkosh. She volunteers in a number of parish ministries including the women's spirituality group, as an RCIA sponsor, Eucharistic and homebound visitor, catechist, and on the RCIA and Care teams. Palm is a licensed practical nurse and completed the parish nurse program at Marian College in 1999. She works at Caregivers Home Healthcare. She and her husband, Ronnie, are parents of three adult children and one granddaughter.

Sally Reynen is a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Humboldt, where she is parish pastoral minister. She also volunteers as an RCIA leader and Eucharistic minister and also trains Eucharistic ministers, lectors and servers. She is the mother of two daughters, Lori and Jean, and fulltime grandmother of four granddaughters.

Debbie Travis belongs to Sacred Heart, Oshkosh, where she is Liturgy Coordinator/Pastoral Minister. She also volunteers as a song leader, Heartsounds director and for the parish picnic. She and her husband, James, have three children.

Youth Ministry

Dorothy Boutin (also to be commissioned in religious education) is a member of Holy Innocents Parish, Manitowoc. She works for the community of Holy Redeemer-Sacred Heart, Manitowoc, as coordinator of Junior/Senior High School and Youth Ministry. She also volunteers at her home parish as lector, lector coordinator, broadcaster of Mass and member of the worship committee. She and her husband, Jim, are parents of five and the grandparents of ten.

Religious Education

Janet Abalan is a life-long member of St. Mary, Omro, where she is Coordinator of Religious Education. She also volunteers at the parish as a Eucharistic minister, and on the High School Mission Building Core and Renew Core Teams. She and her husband, Robert, have two teenage sons, Ryan and John.

Rochelle (Shelly) Bastien belongs to Immaculate Conception Parish, Oneida. She works fulltime for Colonial House Supper Club in Freedom and part-time at her parish. Her activities there include serving as a song leader and catechist and on the Activities and Fundraiser, Renew 2000 and Religious Education committees. She and her husband, George, have five children and three grandchildren.

Mary Sedlacek belongs to St. Mary of the Angels Parish, Green Bay, where she serves as Religious Education and Formation Coordinator. She is also a Eucharistic minister and a member of the UMPA, worship, education and SCC/Renew committees. She and her husband, Lee, have a combined family of four children and one grandchild.


Nancy Christof is a life-long member of St. Louis Parish, Dyckesville. She is employed part-time as a registered nurse at Bellin and as pastoral minister at St. Peter, Lincoln and St. Hubert, Rosiere. At her home parish, she has volunteered as cantor, choir member, organist, parish nurse and on the worship committee. She is also involved in diocesan marriage preparation. She and her husband, James, are parents of three children. Christof is a recipient of the Bishop Wycislo Scholarship.

Joan Faltynski belongs to St. Mary of the Angels Parish, Green Bay. A single person, she is very involved with her parish, volunteering as lector, Eucharistic minister, coordinator of ministry schedules, edits the parish newspaper, assists with art and environment, and serves on the worship and education endowment committees. She works at both Proko Wall Funeral Home and the Franciscan Vocation Office.

Sonia Hitt is a member of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral Parish, Green Bay, where she works as sacristan and religious education assistant. She also volunteers at recruiting and training liturgical ministers, is a Eucharistic minister, Bible study coordinator, prayer network member and belongs to the worship and the cathedral artifacts and museum committees. She and her husband, Paul, are parents of two teenagers. Hitt is also a recipient of the Bishop Wycislo scholarship.

Arleene Miller is a member of St. Mary, Glenmore/Stark Parish, where she also works as clerk typist and housekeeper. She also volunteers as lector, Eucharistic minister, food assistant and chairs the worship committee. Additionally, she is a member of the Town of Glenmore Planning Commission and Border Committee. She and her husband, Jeffrey, have four daughters and 13 grandchildren.

Laurie Svatek belongs to St. Luke/St. Mark Parish in Two Rivers. She works at St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan as a clinical information specialist in the Home Nursing department. At her parish, she volunteers as cantor, choir member, coordinator of initiation and acting team leader of the worship committee. A single person, she will pursue her master's degree in religious studies at Cardinal Stritch University this fall.

Church Busines Management

Deborah Gucwa is a member of St. Thomas the Apostle, Northeim, and employed part-time at Roncalli High in Manitowoc as a secretary. At her parish, she is a Eucharistic minister, lector, minister of hospitality, chair of the planning committee and member of the fundraising and building committee. She has a son and daughter, both teenagers.

Patricia Ratajczak and her husband, Terry, belong to St. Joseph Parish, Champion. There she volunteers as a lector, financial council member, sources assistant to the parish council, RCIA coordinator and Eucharistic minister. She also belongs to the diocesan Business Administrators/Managers Group. This fall, she will attend Silver Lake College, pursuing a degree in theology.

Laura Tews is a member of St. Patrick, Stephensville, and currently employed by the linked parishes of St. Patrick and St. Denis, Shiocton. At St. Patrick, she serves as a Eucharistic minister, trains altar servers, leads children's liturgy and is a catechist for middle school and high school students. She and her husband, Jeffrey, have two teenagers, Anna and Elliot.

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