Programs aim for growth in faith

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

We are still enjoying the wonderful days of summer, a time that none of us wishes to end too quickly. At the same time, we do know that our children and young adults soon will be returning to the classroom. As the bishop of the diocese, my prayers accompany them as they continue to grow in knowledge and, please God, in the Catholic faith in our Catholic schools and religious-education programs.

During the course of their education, our young people will come in contact with William Faulkner (1897-1962), an outstanding writer. Mr. Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature on Dec. 10, 1950, in Stockholm, Sweden. On that occasion he delivered an address in which he said: "I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past."

It is my hope that our young people throughout their educations will discover the virtues about which Mr. Faulkner spoke so eloquently. My prayers also are offered for our teachers, who through their vocation so positively affect our youth. Technology has greatly aided the world of education, but can there ever be any substitute for the presence of a very dedicated teacher? By his or her example, faith and care for the students, the teacher imparts more than the knowledge contained in the textbook. In such a turbulent and sometimes very confused age, the teacher becomes a true guide and support to the student.

Realizing, then, how very important the teaching ministry is among the many ministries of the church, and conscious that the Second Vatican Council reminds the diocesan bishop that he is called to be the first teacher of the diocese — subject to The Teacher, Jesus Christ — I wish to take this opportunity to announce some staff changes in the Diocesan Office for Catholic Schools and the Diocesan Office for Evangelization and Catechesis.

After many years dedicated to our diocesan mission of Evangelization and Catechesis, Mrs. Maribeth Mancini, who served as the director of that office, retired on June 30. On behalf of our diocesan family, I renew our genuine gratitude to Mrs. Mancini and I know you join me in prayer, asking Our Lord, the Teacher, to bless Maribeth and her family abundantly in the years ahead as she enters a new phase of life.

Upon the recommendation of the office of the vicar general, I have approved the union once again of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis with the Office of Catholic Schools, under the title Office for Faith Development Ministry. It is hoped that this union will provide close collaboration between parish catechetical programs and Catholic school curricula, as well as developing an even stronger rapport between the educators in these two vital areas of diocesan life.

It also was recommended that Mr. Anthony Cook III be appointed as director of this newly formed Office for Faith Development Ministry. Knowing the conscientious manner in which he has served in his current role as superintendent of Catholic schools, I have approved this appointment. Mr. Cook will lead both the Catholic Schools Office as its superintendent and the Department of Evangelization and Catechesis, effective immediately.

Mr. Cook will be assisted by Mrs. Jona A. Wright, associate superintendent of Catholic schools, and Dr. Shannon Loughlin, associate director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, who will also continue to direct our Young Adult and Campus Ministry.

At the same time, I have appointed Father David M. Tedesche as the theological consultant to these offices, in conjunction with his present appointment as parochial vicar of St. Mary Parish and Ss. Mary and Martha Parish in Auburn.

Father Tedesche was ordained to the sacred priesthood on June 22, 2013. Prior to entering the seminary, Father Tedesche earned his bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in education from the State University of New York at Albany. He then earned a master’s degree in philosophy, also from SUNY Albany, and taught English for three years on the secondary level in public schools.

This fall of 2014 Father Tedesche will be awarded the degree of licentiate in sacred theology in biblical studies (S.T.L.) by the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In their final evaluation of him, the faculty of the Pontifical North American College wrote that Father Tedesche "has a passion for catechesis and teaching … all indications are that he will be an excellent teacher, both in formal classroom settings and in more informal pastoral settings."

As we enter a new school year, I pray that our diocesan and parish efforts to instruct our young people in the truths of the faith will truly enrich their lives now and into the future as they come to know Jesus, profess their faith in him through the life of the church and rejoice in his presence in all the different aspects of their lives.

United with you in prayer for our children and young adults, while invoking the intercession of our patron, St. John Fisher, I remain

Devotedly yours in Christ,

† The Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano

Bishop of Rochester

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