By EmmaLee Italia | Correspondent
Michelle Angelo has a long history of catechetical leadership, serving in her home parish of St. John the Apostle, Linden, for four years as assistant coordinator and then coordinator of religious education, followed by eight years as director of faith formation in Holy Trinity Parish, Westfield.
Now ready to take on a position as director of religious education in St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Hightstown, Angelo feels blessed to begin her new ministry.
“This community has been very welcoming since I started in July,” she attested. “It is always challenging to learn a new program, and this is the first time I am serving in the Diocese of Trenton. I have enjoyed getting to know the catechists and families in this parish community, and am excited to continue to grow the program.”
Angelo, who holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Kean University, Union, earned a graduate certificate in religious education from Felician College, Lodi. She worked for Union County government for more than five years before leaving to teach religion in Marist High School, Bayonne.
Despite growing up in Linden in a close-knit Catholic family and attending Catholic school from first grade through high school, Angelo admits she didn’t always have a connection to her faith.
“After I was confirmed, I was not really practicing my faith for about 10 years,” she explained. “I came back to the faith through an evangelical Christian [who] would always question my Catholic beliefs. In trying to defend my faith, I ended up learning so much more about the Church and fell in love with my faith in a new and deeper way.”
With a newfound enthusiasm for Catholic teaching, Angelo is excited to pass on what she has learned, not only to the children, but also to their parents.
“I would like to provide additional opportunities for the entire family – whole family catechesis/intergenerational events – that go beyond the traditional classroom setting,” she said. “The first goal is to take time to get to know the families of this community and find out their needs in order to best serve them, and help bring them closer to Christ and his Church.
“This ministry definitely is challenging, but it also rewarding,” Angelo added. “Witnessing the children discover God’s great love for them and seeing them receive Jesus in the Eucharist is such a gift to me.”