DREs meet for first time in years Print this post

Staff Report – Florida Catholic


Throughout the Diocese of Venice is a group of dedicated men and women who are professional catechetical leaders assisting adults, teens and children of the parish in their faith formation.

Directors of Religious Education from across teh Diocese gathered for a meeting on Aug. 17 at Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers.

This broad definition of Director of Religious Education (DRE) is only the tip of the surface of what they do each day in creating a prayerful environment where worship, prayer, hospitality and learning are the primary motivators.

The DREs of the Diocese were brought together as a group on Aug. 17 at Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers for an enrichment day. The gathering served to unite them in a common goal of serving the faithful within the Diocese, centered on the Lord.

Diocesan Director of Religous Education Ashley Fox, left), looks on as St. John teh Evangelist Parish DRE Natalie Campbell talks about Pope Francis’ Joy of the Gospel during a DRE gathering at Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers on Aug. 17.

Diocesan Director of Religious Education Ashley Fox organized the day, telling the DREs that their work is necessary and appreciated. About 40 DREs from across the Diocese were able to attend the meeting.

A DRE designs, develops and directs the parish religious education program, which can include people of all ages, from pre-school to senior citizen and everywhere in between. This tremendous responsibility takes a commitment which Fox said is commendable and often under appreciated.

“I have been there,” she said. “You do everything and the weight of your responsibilities – the education of the faith – is awesome. Thank you for what you do.”

The day included encouraging everyone who works in religious education to refocus on the Lord through prayer. Diocesan Director of Evangelization David Glasow gave a presentation about the need to have prayer as a focus in one’s life, not just something that is fit in.

“Are we fitting prayer in or are we putting prayer as the core of who we are?” Glasow asked. “This comes at Mass and at personal time. We are called to do God’s things God’s way, and that is in a prayerful way… He’s proud of what you are doing – especially if it is hard – He is accompanying you along the way.”

The group also heard about the lessons learned about the recent U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America in Orlando, from Fox and Natalie Campbell, DRE at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples.

Campbell explained has the Convocation was inspired by Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), and how we, as Catholics, are to become more intentional missionary disciples. The four days of talks by Cardinals, Bishops, priests and laity from many apostolates and ministries spoke from their hearts with eloquence and passion about the love and mercy of Jesus Christ they have come to deeply experience from their own personal encounter with Him.

“By taking a look at ourselves first, we can begin to best prepare for the work ahead as we go out in faith on mission,” Campbell said. “This work will require that we are filled with joy and ready to accompany others along their journey of faith. It will require at the very least compassion, charity, kindness, understanding and a willingness to step out of our comfort zone in a reach to others that are on the peripheries of our communities.”

The DREs left the day energized, having met as a group for the first time in about four years. Sister Frances Lolar, RSM, DRE of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, noted that it was good to see new faces and hear of new ideas.

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