Starting on March 13, 2012, Ms. Katherine Angulo-Valenzuela joined the staff of the Department of Catholic Formation and Evangelization as Diocesan Youth Ministry Director. Ms. Angulo comes from the Diocese of Knoxville, where she has served as the Director of Pastoral Ministries. Born in Mexico, she earned a B.A. in Modern Languages from Kings College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and is fluent in both English and Spanish. She earned an M.A. in Pastoral Ministries from St. Thomas University in Miami, FL.
Ms. Angulo has led and coordinated multiple domestic and international mission trips and youth conferences and is a recipient of the Companion on the Journey Award for adults who demonstrate excellence in Youth Ministry. In her work with youth in Knoxville, Ms. Angulo was part of the Next Generation of Pastoral Leaders Program organized by the Emerging Models of Pastoral Ministries group. This project is researching the new look of vocation for young adults and their place in Church ministry.
“Katherine brings a great wealth of knowledge and experience of Youth Ministry from her education and past positions,” said Sr. Rose Marie Adams, IHM, Executive Director of Catholic Formation and Evangelization for the Diocese. “Her zeal and enthusiasm for her Catholic faith and her ministry will richly serve the youth and adults of our Diocese.”
Ms. Angulo explained that she loves youth ministry for its potential to evangelize entire families. “Once a teenager is connected, and understands that God really exists in their lives, they become the fire,” she said. “They change themselves, but they also change their parents; they bring the family with them.”
They also challenge the Church, she said. “One complaint you hear a lot is, ‘After Confirmation, we don’t see them.’ But when we offer them leadership roles in the parish, organizing retreats or being lectors or Eucharistic ministers, they have the potential by their example to change the whole parish.”
The new Director’s first task will be to meet with youth ministers and youth throughout the Diocese, she said, “to learn the strengths of the different programs and where more work is needed.” She also believes her experience with national organizations will be helpful both in bringing speakers to youth events in the Diocese and giving Diocesan youth the opportunity to attend national events.”
She sees youth ministry as a place that “balances learning about the faith with practical theology; a place where youth get to know their faith and at the same time have the opportunity to practice their faith in their interaction with peers.
“If we can achieve that, I know it will make a difference,” Ms. Angulo said. “I have seen it happen.”