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Bishop Burbidge Appoints Diocesan Youth Ministry Director

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Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge has announced the appointment of Mr. Patrick Diener as the Director of Youth Ministry in the Diocese of Raleigh. Mr. Diener is currently working in youth ministry in the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi. He has previously worked in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC and in his home Diocese of Charlotte.

The appointment by Bishop Burbidge was made upon the recommendation of a search committee chaired by Sr. Rose Marie Adams, I.H.M., Executive Director of the Department of Catholic Formation and Evangelization.  Sister Rose said the committee was impressed by Mr. Diener’s solid foundation in youth ministry and his educational background, which includes a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Masters Degree in Theology from The John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

“I welcome the new opportunities for youth to encounter Christ and grow in a deeper appreciation of the truths of our Catholic faith which will be afforded by Mr. Diener as a member of our department,” Sister Rose said.  “Among his many talents of teaching, leading retreats, workshops and assisting teens to develop Christ-centered leadership skills, Patrick is also a talented musician and professional photographer.”

Mr. Diener will officially join the staff on October 12, but will attend the Diocesan High School Youth Retreat, Disciples on the Journey, on October 10-11.

Meet Patrick Diener

What appealed to you about the Diocesan Youth Ministry position that made you want to apply for it?

I was excited to hear about this position and the chance to work with a Bishop who emphasizes the importance of vocations and youth in our church.  Engaging the youth in the Church today ensures a strong Church of tomorrow.  I have seen that Raleigh is a growing and vibrant diocese in which I am excited to put my gifts and talents to work.

What do you bring to the position?

In addition to my wife and two boys, I will be bringing an educational background of a Masters in Theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family at the Catholic University of America as well as post grad work in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern Mississippi.  In addition to my educational background, I have been involved in youth ministry at the parish level from my days in high school.  I have had the opportunity to work in many different parish settings, ranging from large city churches to rural parishes. I also bring a passion for the “Church of today”, as Pope John Paul II referred to the youth.  I believe that given the right opportunities this group of people will keep the flame of our faith alive and I will work to fan that flame.

What do you know about the Diocese of Raleigh?

I grew up in the Diocese of Charlotte, where my family still resides.  I was fortunate to attend Faithful Servant when I was a junior in high school, a catechetical program used by the Charlotte and Raleigh dioceses.  I know that the Diocese of Raleigh is a vibrant Diocese celebrating many cultural backgrounds and people desiring to live, manifest and embody the message of Jesus Christ.

Do you have any initial thoughts or ideas on what you would like to do?

My main purpose in accepting this position is to utilize my gifts and talents in service of the Bishop and the needs of the youth ministry program in the diocese.  I think the groundwork has been laid for a continued strengthening of the youth ministry program in the diocese.  I hope to help create a united front in youth ministry in the diocese by providing the tools to youth ministers and volunteers at the parish level.  These tools include: Leadership and ministry training, catechetical guidelines, encouragement and support.  I would also like to work to further strengthen the youth ministry program by providing experiences for the teens to encounter the living Christ.  Changes aside, I look forward to seeing first-hand the programs, retreats, and conferences already in place in the Diocese.  I have heard many good things about the current programs for teens in the Diocese.

What will you do in the first six months on the job?

In my first six months, I hope to get to know the priests, youth ministers, and volunteers in the youth ministry programs at the parish level and the diocesan level.  I hope to see what the real needs are in the Diocese so that I can be effective in my ministry serving the ones on the front lines of Youth Ministry. I will be jumping into the position with both feet to pick up where things were left off, so that the diocesan events continue on schedule. Furthermore I am excited to work in collaboration with the other members of the Office of Catholic Formation and Evangelization to effectively minister to the needs of the Diocese.