Young Family Ministry

Encounter, a new faith formation program for all members of the St. Catherine’s community

by Aimee Beckmann-Collier, chair, Parish Council

We are happy to announce that St. Catherine of Siena Parish will pursue a new model of faith formation, beginning this October.  Our approach will be intergenerational and we invite all members of the parish, including Drake students, families with young and school-age children and youth, and households of single and empty nest resident parishioners, to participate.  The approach is the result of extensive surveys, discussions, and meetings between and among the Parish Council, parents of children and youth from toddlers to high school students, faith formation leaders Tonya Swanda and Greg Schwager, the African community, diocesan staff, and Father Okwalo.  You’ll receive a steady stream of information about this exciting new program in the coming weeks, but we wanted to share a few details as you begin to make your plans for the next months.

  • Our new faith formation, called Encounter, will take place once a month, on the third Sunday, beginning on October 16.
  • The Encounter experience will include a shared meal at 11:45 followed by ice-breakers, a focused session on the featured topic (offered with age-appropriate activities) and a brief closing session. We’ll conclude by approximately 1:30.
  • Children from the African community who have been learning about their faith in English during the past year will participate in Encounter, making it possible to begin to bond the two communities. We purposely chose the third Sunday of the month for Encounter so that participants can choose to attend either the 10:30 Mass or the 2:00 liturgy of the African community, which is offered in English on the third Sunday monthly.
  • Encounter is based on the expressed desire of many St. Catherine’s parishioners to encounter Jesus, to encounter our neighbors within our parish community as well as the larger community, and to apply these encounters to develop a deeper understanding of Jesus’ call to love and serve. As one of the parents said, “We’re looking for faith exploration in an environment in which we can, together, wrestle with the stresses of daily life in an increasingly complicated world.”
  • The Encounter committee is thrilled to develop this new way of creating community in Jesus’ name at St. Catherine’s and to provide meaningful, relevant ways of exploring and modeling our faith. We invite you to join us on the journey. Please share your questions and comments by contacting me at:







Children in pre-school through 5th grade are invited to take part in Children’s Liturgy of the Word during Sunday Mass @ 10:30 am.

A basket of toddler books to use during Mass is available near Father's office.

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