Notre Dame’s Echo program: Ten years of 'giving Jesus a good name'

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Institute for Church Life Echo program

The University of Notre Dame’s Echo program will mark its 10th anniversary this weekend (June 27-29) with a campus reunion of its graduates, a dinner and a Mass celebrated by Rev. Paul Doyle, C.S.C., rector of Dillon Hall, who once quipped of Echo’s graduates, “These people give Jesus a good name.”

Established in 2004 by Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life (ICL), Echo, a two-year service and master’s degree program, is intended to address a need for a new generation of catechetical leaders in the Catholic Church. While pursuing a Notre Dame master’s degree in theology, its participants also serve as apprentice ministers in parishes nationwide, living in small communities and sharing in the parish sacramental life. Most Echo graduates continue in professional ministry in parishes, Catholic high schools and dioceses, or in campus ministry at colleges and universities.

“I am so proud of our program and of the students we have graduated,” said ICL director John C. Cavadini. “They have assumed important leadership positions in dioceses, parishes and Catholic schools across the country. They are the avant garde in catechetical leadership for a new generation.”

Echo has graduated 96 such leaders in the last 10 years, and 46 Catholic dioceses and archdioceses, more than a quarter of those in the United States, have been served by them.

“It’s gratifying to know that Echo has given so many young Catholics who otherwise might not have considered parish catechetical ministry a great way to learn more about their faith and serve the Church around the country,” said Echo director Colleen Moore. “It’s moving to hear from our partner dioceses, parishes and Catholic schools of the real impact Echo apprentices and graduates have on the faith lives of their communities. I’m proud of all that our graduates, diocesan partners and the University have done together to build up the catechetical mission of the Church over the last 10 years and look forward to seeing the fruit of the next 10.”

Last spring, Echo admitted its largest class to date, with 19 graduates from 14 colleges and universities, including six from Notre Dame. These graduate students will be serving as parish apprentice ministers in the archdioceses of Galveston-Houston, Texas; Indianapolis; and Salt Lake City; and in the dioceses of St. Augustine and St. Petersburg, Florida.

Jerry Baumbach, director emeritus of Echo, said that “this is such an exciting time for all who are or have been associated with Echo over the past decade. Their emerging leadership, commitment to catechesis and spirit of service carry forward Notre Dame’s hope-filled outreach to church and society.”

Contact: Colleen Moore, 574-631-4920,