Colleen Campbell graduated from the University of Dallas with a B.A. in pastoral ministry. She is currently a graduate student of theology at the University of Notre Dame in the Echo program. Through the program she works as a catechetical apprentice at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. There, she is the coordinator for home-based catechesis, a team member for elementary sacramental preparation and a 6th grade catechist. Campbell’s main ministerial and academic interest is the practical implementation of St. John Paul’s idea of the “feminine genius” through catechesis and faith formation.
Q: As both a graduate student in Notre Dame’s Echo program and a catechist, how has your liberal arts based education at UD influenced you?
A: Being a pastoral minister requires understanding of the human experience, and the Core curriculum provided an opportunity for contemplating how to reconcile the human condition with the creative work of God. In Dr. Davis’ Lit Trad II class, I could begin to think about how to approach conscience formation and morality with people like Francesca and Paolo in Canto five of Dante’s “Inferno;” [I considered] how dasein relates to the human experience of God in Dr. Macready’s Phil of Being class; and [I understood] the depth of the relationship between God and humanity in translating vocabulary in Dr. Glicksman’s Hebrew classes. All of my classes at UD, especially the classes for the pastoral ministry major taken through the Neuhoff School of Ministry, have prepared me extremely well for serving the Church in catechetical ministry.
Q: You will be speaking later this month at the Dallas Ministry Conference. Would you please talk a little bit about what your session on “Lady Wisdom: A Biblical Model of Catechesis for Women” will entail?
A: In the Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom is personified as a woman, which provides us with certain insights into the characteristics of God, but also into female humanity. The author of this book beautifully describes Lady Wisdom as “the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness” (Wis 7:26). I believe that the language used in the book of Wisdom holds some important keys to a renewed theology of woman that is of prime importance for the formation and mobilization of female disciples that can be most fruitfully delivered in the context of catechesis.
Q: Your bio notes that your main interest is the practical implementation of St. John Paul’s idea of the “feminine genius” through catechesis and faith formation. What does that implementation look like to you, and how does it relate to your work with elementary and middle school students?
A: In recent years, Catholic academia has continued the exciting discussion of the importance of women in the Church; I feel called to contribute to a discussion of this on a practical level within the field of catechesis. At some point in their sacramental lives, all Catholic girls and women will encounter parish catechetical programming; I believe that this encounter, no matter how brief … could be shaped to empower women in their dignity and vocation. This programming would feature the discernment of the woman’s gifts, affirmation of her vocation and formation in using her gifts in service of the vulnerable and marginalized in order to make a sincere gift of self to the Church and the world.
In my work right now as an Echo apprentice, this vision animates my catechetical planning. Whether planning for [Religious Education] (RE) classes, teaching students in sacramental preparation, speaking to and providing resources for parents or coordinating a project for home-based catechesis students, I seek to create opportunities that will foster the viewpoints, leadership and gifts of girls especially, even though I do not work with female students exclusively.
Students, are you interested in speaking with Alumna Colleen Campbell or learning more about pastoral ministry? Contact UD Alumni Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.