Four Parishes in the Diocese to Partner with Students from Notre Dame’s Theology Department

Echo is a two-year service-learning program that offers participants the opportunity to earn an M.A. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Theology, to serve the Church in parish catechetical leadership or as a theology teacher in a Catholic school, and to live in an intentional faith community while engaging in integrative spiritual formation.

The Echo program will be starting in the Diocese of Joliet in August at the following parishes: St. Irene in Warrenville; St. Margaret Mary and Holy Spirit, both in Naperville; and St. John the Baptist in Winfield.  There is a need to line up housing for the four “apprentices” who will be working at those parishes, so there is currently a need for furnished residence that will accommodate four graduate students for a period of two years.

Here’s more about the Echo program, according to its web site (

Echo parish catechetical apprentices engage in leadership in a variety of parish catechetical ministries, including but not limited to RCIA, Religious Education, Youth Ministry, Adult Faith Formation, and Social Justice Ministry. Parish apprentices are matched with a mentor who is a catechetical leader on staff at their assigned parish to help guide their ministry experience and assess their professional development.

Echo Teaching Theology

Echo theology teachers are placed in one of our partner Catholic high schools or junior highs and teach a variety of theological courses. Echo theology teachers also engage in limited extracurricular activities to contribute to the school community outside of the classroom. Echo theology teachers are matched with a mentor teacher or administrator in the school with whom they meet weekly to discuss their teaching experience and assess their professional development.

Formation in Echo

In addition to their graduate study in theology and service in parishes or schools, Echo parish apprentices and theology teachers engage in communal, human, and spiritual formation that complements and integrates their study, service, and life of faith. This comprehensive approach helps Echo apprentices and theology teachers become skilled, theologically-informed leaders as well as authentic and inspiring witnesses of the faith to those they serve.