NCCL Mission


The National Community of Catechetical Leaders is dedicated to promoting the ministries of evangelization and catechesis in the U.S. Catholic Church by fostering a community of leaders ​who proclaim ​and teach the Word of Jesus Christ ​through the witness of accompaniment, education, and formation in the Catholic faith.

From the first centuries and throughout the history of the Church catechesis, “echoing the Word of God,” has been an essential ministry of the Church. The challenge of “making disciples” – of forming people of all ages and generations to live as disciples for a lifetime – is one of the most urgent tasks facing the Church today.

NCCL is committed to equipping, supporting, and networking catechetical leaders in dioceses, parishes, and other ministry settings to accompany, educate, and form people of all ages in the Catholic faith so that they may live as disciples in the world today.


NCCL, with a mission to enrich and strengthen the ministry of catechesis in the U.S., traces its roots to 1934 when diocesan directors of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) were first convened by Bishop Edwin O'Hara of Great Falls, Montana. The directors successfully petitioned the bishops to establish both an episcopal committee and a national center for the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. The episcopal committee was formed in November of that same year, and the national center was established in 1935. In 1936, the directors began to meet annually under the aegis of the National Center.

When the directors gathered in New Orleans for their thirtieth annual meeting in April 1966, they decided to form their own organization, independent of the National Center. Episcopal approval for the move was sought and given in September of that year by the Bishops' Committee for CCD meeting in Pittsburgh for the Twelfth National Catechetical Congress. The National Conference of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education/CCD (NCDD) was formally launched in January 1967. NCDD was organized around the ecclesiastical provinces in the US with the board of directors consisting of elected officers and a representative from each province.

In 1991, the organization changed its bylaws, structure, and governance to widen its membership and to facilitate decision-making and governance processes. In addition to diocesan directors and their staffs, membership was expanded to include academics, parish directors of religious education, publishers, and affiliated organizations. The organization was renamed the National Conference of Catechetical Leaders (NCCL). In 2022 the name was updated to the National Community of Catechetical Leaders to embrace the diversity of people in catechetical ministry.


In alignment with our established mission, NCCL strives to build an interactive community through the following Strategic Priorities:

  1. To resource the catechetical community through, and regular communication through email and social media.
  2. To resource the catechetical community for its ministry today through regular articles and reports on important topic in catechesis, research and trends, and innovations in catechesis.
  3. To gather the catechetical community for enrichment and networking through online conferences, regional convocations, and an annual conference.
  4. To network, support, and resource diocesan leaders involved in catechetical ministry.
  5. To be a catalyst for innovations in catechetical ministry by engaging parish catechetical leaders in designing creative initiatives to address critical issues and audiences in catechesis.
  6. To equip parish catechetical leaders with the knowledge, skills, and tools for catechesis with all ages and generations through a national leadership education program.


Let's Form the Future Together - Join the NCCL Community (It's Free!)

NCCL Board of Directors

Meet the members of our dedicated leadership team...


Jose Amaya

Jose has worked as a Director of Faith Formation at Archdiocese for the Military Services since 2012. He has served as the Coordinator of Catechist Formation and Hispanic Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Washington; and as a parish director of religious education. Jose was project director for the Archdiocese’s Family Faith Assessment tool which brings catechetical conversations into the home in the form of question-and-answer games that parents can play with their children on laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Jose has an MDiv from Washington Theological Union.


Kathie Amidei, Ph.D.

Kathie serves as Pastoral Associate at St. Anthony on the Lake Parish in Wisconsin. She was formerly the Associate Director for Catechesis and Child Ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. She has served in a number of parishes as a teacher and a director of religious education. She holds a Doctorate in Education and Leadership. Kathie is a national speaker and author of Forming Families: A Faith Resource on Catholic Identity (OSV, 2019).


Sister Ruth Bolarte IHM, D.Min.

Sister Ruth is a member of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Immaculata, Pa. A native of Peru, she holds degrees in theology from Immaculata University and St. Charles Seminary in Pennsylvania. She graduated with a doctorate in ministry from the School of Theology and Religious Studies from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She has been involved in parish and diocesan ministry working in areas of adult faith and leadership formation, both national and internationally, within an intercultural context. She is, also, adjunct professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University and Pastoral Consultant for Renew International.


Therese Brown

Therese is the executive director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. Previously, she served as associate director of marketing at USCCB Publishing and associate director at the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry where she directed the National Catholic Youth Conference. During her time at the USCCB, she was project manager for the implementation of the Roman Missal in the U.S. with the Secretariat for Divine Worship and marketing specialist for three key USCCB titles, National Directory for Catechesis, U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults, and the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. She is an author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Pub.) and catechetical and teaching resources from Saint Mary’s Press. She holds an MBA from Loyola University Maryland and a master’s degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.


Milissa Else

Milissa is the Coordinator for Parish Strategies and Small Group Ministry in the Archdiocese of Newark. Milissa also spent nearly five years as the Director of Pastoral Services for RENEW International. With RENEW, Milissa provided training to small group facilitators in 20 dioceses across the country. Previously, Milissa was Vice President for a consulting firm, through which she served the Catholic Church for nearly 20 years. Milissa worked with a wide variety of Catholic organizations, parishes, dioceses, and religious communities, directing strategic planning, conducting planning studies, and consulting capital campaigns. Milissa has spoken at diocesan congresses in Allentown, Brooklyn, Metuchen, Newark and Scranton. She has presented workshops on missionary discipleship and stewardship for national and regional meetings of International Catholic Stewardship Conference, as well as frequently presenting for NCDC.


Michael Howard

Michael received his M.A. in Church Ministry/Spirituality at St. Mary’s University Seminary, Ecumenical School of Theology, and holds a B.A. in Biblical Studies at Washington Bible College. Presently, he facilitates and teaches online courses for the University of Dayton, McGrath Institute STEP Online program for Notre Dame, and Loyola Marymount University, The Presences Of Black Catholics Today and Tomorrow online courses. He loves the spiritual readings of Henri J. M. Nouwen and the mystic Howard Thurman. He is also the founder of Eat the Scroll Ministry, where he began his search and hunger to read and study God’s Word for faith formation with adults. "Eat the Scroll….It is sweet as honey."


Justin Huyck

Justin is Editor for Pastoral and Parish Resources at Liturgical Press. Previously, he served in parish ministry for 15 years in Ohio, Illinois, New York State, and Ontario (Canada), as well as Director of Department of Communications for the Diocese of Youngstown. His pastoral experience has encompassed liturgy, adult faith formation, youth and young adult ministries, Christian Initiation, and catechesis with children and families. Justin is the author of From Home to Home: Finding in Mobility and Baptism: Alive in Christ (Little Rock Scripture Study and Liturgical Press), and holds a B.A. in Government from Cornell University and an M.A. in Theology and Liturgy from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Justin previously served on NCCL’s Board, and before that as Chair of the Product Development Committee and on Representative Council.


Charleen Katra

Charleen is the Executive Director of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD). Prior to beginning her current position in 2019, she served as an Associate Director in the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. For over twenty years her primary responsibility was directing the Ministry with Persons with Disabilities. Charleen is the co-author of The Adaptive Teacher: Faith-Based Strategies to Reach and Teach Learners with Disabilities (Loyola Press, 2019) and the author of How to Talk to Children about People with Disabilities (Twenty-Third Publications, 2019). She has extensive experience in systematic and sacramental catechesis and has served as a national consultant, author, and speaker on the topic of inclusion for various Catholic publishers. She holds a Bachelor's in Special/Elementary Education and a Master’s in Pastoral Studies.


Tracey Lamont, Ph.D.

Tracey is Director of the Loyola Institute for Ministry and Assistant Professor of religious education and young adult ministry. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion and Religious Education from Fordham University and specializes in curriculum development, youth and young adult ministry, and religious education. Before Loyola, Tracey was a teacher, a parish youth and young adult minister, and Confirmation coordinator. She is a member of the Religious Education Association and has presented papers on young adult moral development and pedagogical practices in Catholic high schools. Tracey served as a committee member for the National Dialogue on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment from 2017-2019, and has been a member of the USCCB National Young Adult Advisory Team since 2017. She also serves as member of the board of directors for the National Institute for Ministry with Young Adults.


Catherine LaVecchia

Catherine is the Director of Lifelong Learning at Church of the Presentation, Upper Saddle River, NJ. She has served in various ministry capacities for the past 30 years, including youth ministry, family faith formation, and lifelong faith formation. She has also taught theology and spirituality to college students for many years. She has a Masters Degrees in Pastoral Ministry and Religious Education and a Certificate in Church Management from Villanova’s Center for Church Management.


Erin McGeever

Erin has served as the Diocesan Director of Christian Formation in the Diocese of St. Augustine for the last 15 years. Prior to this position, she served 25 years in the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky in a variety of catechetical roles including: Catholic School Teacher, parish catechist, parish Director of Religious Education, in the Diocesan Office of Catechesis, and on the faculty at Thomas More University in the theology department. She holds undergraduate degrees in education and theology, both from Thomas More University, and an M.A. in theological studies from the University of Dayton and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Northern Kentucky University.


Gary Pokorny

Gary served as Director of Catechesis and Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and in related archdiocesan roles, from 2007 to 2023. Prior to that, he served as Director of Lay Formation at Saint Francis Seminary, as a parish director of religious education and as a youth minister. He earned a Master of Divinity from Saint Francis School of Pastoral Ministry, and a Post-Master Certificate in Pastoral Theology from University of St. Mary of the Lake. Gary has been a member of NCCL since 2007, and served as chair of the Standards and Certification Committee and as NCCL representative to the Alliance for the Certification of Lay Ecclesial Ministers (2012-2021).


John Michael Reyes

John Michael is Director of Adult Spirituality at Saint Ignatius College Preparation in San Francisco. He holds a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University (Berkeley, CA) and a Certificate in Liturgical Art & Architecture from Saint John's School of Theology Seminary (Collegeville, MN). He has experiences as a P-12 teacher, hospital chaplain, retreat director, and as a campus minister for Jesuit Universities particularly in the areas of Liturgy and Sacramental Formation. He is a frequently sought-after liturgy coordinator and cantor for national conferences, including the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. He assists with TeamRCIA, and his writings can be found through Liturgical Press, Liturgy Training Publications, Paulist Press and Twenty-Third Publications.


Sister Janet Schaeffler, O.P.

Sister Janet has worked in parish and archdiocesan ministry in faith formation. She is currently ministering as a retreat and adult faith formation consultant and presenter. The author of hundreds of articles and several publications including Deepening Faith: Adult Faith Formation in the Parish (Liturgical Press, 2016) and Let This Be the Time: Spiritual Essentials for Life's Second Act (Twenty-Third Publications, 2020), Janet teaches online courses through Boston College and the University of Dayton.


Patrice Spirou

Patrice is Ministry Lead for Family Catechesis and Curriculum in the Office of Evangelization & Discipleship at the Archdiocese of Atlanta. In her role, she accompanies ministry leaders encouraging, empowering, and equipping them to answer God’s call to bear fruit that will last! Patrice is a passionate advocate of family centered approaches to faith formation. Prior to serving at the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Patrice taught high school theology, was a parish DRE/PCL, and has taught in Colleges of Education both in Illinois and Georgia. She holds a B.A. in Theology and a M.A. in Teaching.


Rita Thiron

Rita is the Executive Director of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. Prior to arriving at the FDLC, she served for twenty years as the Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Lansing (Michigan). She served for eleven years as the Director of Adult Education and the Catechumenate at Holy Family Parish and as an adjunct professor at Siena Heights University. She holds a masters degree in Theology with a Concentration in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN) and a bachelors degree in History from Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH). Rita serves as a consultant to the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship of the USCCB. She is the author of eight books and countless articles and is a frequent presenter in dioceses across the United States.

Meet Our Executive Director

John Roberto

John has spent a lifetime working in faith formation—teaching, writing, researching, consulting, and developing program resources. He founded Lifelong Faith in 2006 to continue his work. John is also the founder of the Center for Ministry Development (1978) where he worked for 28 years. His latest publications include Lifelong Faith: Formation with All Ages and Generations (Church Publishing, 2022), Faith Formation with a New Generation (2018), Families at the Center of Faith Formation (2016), Seasons of Adult Faith Formation (2015), Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century (2015), Generations Together (2014), and Faith Formation 2020 (2010). He was the creator and project coordinator of the Generations of Faith Project, a five-year Lilly Endowment funded project (2001-2006) to develop intergenerational faith formation in Catholic parishes across the United States. John has a master’s degree in religious education from Fordham University and graduate studies in sociology at Catholic University. He is married to Linda, father of three married children, and grandfather of five children.

Want to learn more about
NCCL's mission & membership?
Want to learn more about NCCL's mission & membership?
Click Here to
Message John Directly

Bylaws of the Organization

NCCL is a 501(c)3 Catholic nonprofit organization, registered with the IRS, and incorporated in the District of Columbia. ​NCCL is governed by a Board of Directors, who supervise and control the business, property and affairs of the Corporation. The Board receives no compensation for their service. The Board of Directors...

  • Serves as trustees of the Corporation and constitutes its chief governing body
  • Sets and monitors the mission and strategic direction of the Corporation
  • Approves the annual budget and secure the financial well-being of the Organization
  • Articulates and approves all official public position statements on behalf of the Organization
  • Develops, approves, and applies all Corporation policies;
  • Employs and evaluates the Executive Director.
Download NCCL Bylaws PDF

Insightful content delivered straight to your inbox.

Catechetical ministry is a journey. We’ll walk with you and offer weekly wisdom along the way.

You're safe with us. We'll never spam you or sell your contact info.