For someone who never thought that God would call her to serve in catechetical ministry, Michelle Angelo has brought a lot of knowledge and experience to St. Catharine Parish, Holmdel, where she coordinates, organizes and supervises the religious education program with more than 800 students in first through eighth grades.
She holds a graduate certificate in religious education from Felician College, Lodi, and she previously served in three parishes in several religious education capacities. She was an assistant and then coordinator in St. John the Apostle Parish, Linden; and was director in both Holy Trinity Parish, Westfield, and later, St. Anthony of Padua, Hightstown.
Angelo holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Kean University, and her earlier work was in education – teaching religion in Marist High School, Bayonne, and kindergarten with the Linden Board of Education – but her path in catechesis was a surprise, she said.
Although she grew up Catholic and attended Mass each week with her family, she remembered being “one of those people who thought Confirmation was ‘graduation,’” and she ceased practicing her faith for more than 10 years. Her reintroduction to the Church came through meeting an Evangelical Christian who asked questions about her Catholic beliefs.
“In trying to defend my faith, I ended up learning so much more about the Church. I fell in love with Jesus and my Catholic faith in a whole new and deeper way,” she recalled.
“This deeper love for the faith gave me the desire to want to share it with others. I wanted everyone to experience this love, too,” she said.
She became a catechist after reading a bulletin announcement in her home parish, St. John the Apostle, Clark.
In the two previous parishes where she was director of religious education, Angelo acquired skills and background that included developing and implementing the curriculum for grades one through eight as well as high school, and prepare appropriate programs for parents of religious education students and those in sacramental prep. She was also able to serve as a resource for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults team members.
“It is an amazing blessing to serve in catechetical ministry. I love the Lord and his Church and to be able to come to work each day with the opportunity to share that love with others is wonderful,” Angelo said. “I am so grateful to God for the opportunity to serve him in this way.”