EDMONTON - A new initiative in the Edmonton Archdiocese aims to ensure sacraments are fundamental events in the lives of all Catholic children.
A two-year position has been established to implement the Archdiocesan Sacramental Education Initiative. Hired for the new position of sacramental education coordinator is Kathleen Nguyen.
Nguyen, an elementary school teacher for the past 12 years, began working Aug. 30 out of the archdiocese's Pastoral and Administration Offices.
She will take direction from the archbishop, although her immediate supervisor is Julien Hammond, director of ecumenical and interfaith relations.
Nguyen will work closely with superintendents, school administrators, priests, sacramental coordinators from the parishes, and religious consultants from individual school boards.
Hammond emphasized that the position is new for the archdiocese, but the work she will do is not. Sacramental education has always been a focus.
What makes this arrangement unique is the collaboration between administrators from all 10 Catholic school districts and the archdiocese, Hammond said.
He foresees the archdiocese establishing a standardized preparation model for sacramental education. There is currently great diversity in sacramental education in parishes, and how parishes and schools interact.
"The work of sacramental coordination has gone on for many years in the archdiocese. But we're only seeing a very small percentage of young people in sacramental life," said Hammond.
"I think there's a recognition that they're involved in the Catholic schools but not necessarily parish life. So this is an attempt to provide a stronger grounding and bridge the gap between church and school."
Nguyen said,"My role is to help improve communication and consolidate the relationship in Catholic education between parishes, families and schools to make sure children are receiving those gifts."
Nguyen has taught from kindergarten to Grade 5 with Edmonton Catholic Schools since 2000 at St. Michael, St. Teresa and Holy Family schools.
"During that time I have become really passionate about Catholic education, and explored more of my Catholic faith," she said.
Nguyen has a bachelor of education degree from the University of Alberta as well as a graduate degree in religious education from Newman Theological College.
She aims to develop a full understanding of the current sacramental process, leading to "a more harmonized sacramental education and preparation model." A final goal is to develop communication strategies between parishes and schools.