Q&A with Victoria (Vicky) Hathaway
Company and Position: Diocese of Gary, IN: Ministry Consultant for Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Member Type: Diocesan
Brief Personal Bio:
Though I just started in this position a little over a year ago, I’ve been volunteering and ministering to teens and young adults in my parish and diocese since I was in high school myself! I grew up in Northwest Indiana, where I was mentored in ministry by my supportive parish family and Kevin Driscoll, who was then our diocesan youth ministry director. I attended Marian University, Indianapolis, where I double majored in Catholic Studies and Psychology and learned about servant leadership as a San Damiano Scholar. I then attended Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, IN where I earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
I worked as a behavior therapist for seven and a half years, working with people with cognitive disabilities and their caregivers. I really enjoyed working with my clients, seeing them grow, and helping them reach their goals. During this time, I continued ministering to the teens in my parish and served on diocesan young adult ministry leadership teams. Last year (2019) I was hired by the Diocese of Gary, my home diocese, to serve as their Ministry Consultant for Youth and Young Adult Ministry. It’s been a wild and wonderful first year!
How has being a member of NFCYM helped you and your ministry to young people?
NFCYM has helped me during my first year by providing me with a supportive community I could turn to for
help, advice, and support. It was great meeting people during the Annual Membership Meeting in February. It was nice to be able to talk to people who were in the same position as I was. We spoke a common language of youth
ministry. I was so thankful that NFCYM started doing regular member meet ups when Covid started. I felt less alone in serving those who serve young people. Gathering ideas, brainstorming, and praying together with other people who were experiencing the same things was something that was so valuable and needed. Even though it was virtual, I met so many great people and have learned a lot from their wisdom.
What is your relationship with NFCYM? What does accompaniment mean to you and how has NFCYM accompanied
I had always heard of NFCYM, even before I was a member myself. My diocese had always been a part of it and
we had gone to NCYC multiple times. But once I became a member, I could see the larger scope of what the organization does. Connecting those in youth ministry regionally and nationally, creating and sharing resources, supporting and advancing youth ministry—It does a lot! I’ve been happy to have been asked to be part of some rapid response efforts and am so thankful for all of the new relationships I’ve built because of NFCYM.
To me, accompaniment means to take the time to walk with another person during a time in their life. It means
to really get to the other person, to listen to them, and help them along their journey, especially by showing them God moving and working in their life.
I feel like NFCYM has accompanied me over the last year by the great people I’ve met. Building up a network can be daunting. While I may seem extroverted, I’m really shy and feel like I’m terrible at networking. But the people I’ve met over the last year have been really great. I’ve been thankful for the little ways people have checked in on me, have encouraged me, supported me, and have prayed with me. When I first stated in my position, I was told that NFYCM was going to be helping me as I ministered to young people and to get active and start meeting people. I’m so glad that I did!
Why ministry? Why do you do what you do?
It’s because of a call I received. Ever since I was a teen, I’ve felt drawn to helping others with their
faith. I loved putting on retreats or helping with religious education classes because I loved helping people figure out how God was moving in their lives. I was that teen who would bug her priest and youth ministry leaders to
give me leadership opportunities or jobs to do. As I grew, more leadership doors opened to me at my diocese and college. It was just something that was in me that I had to share. When my position opened up last year, I just had to
apply. I loved the idea of being able to walk with others as they walk with young people. I love helping people create and meet a goal or, if it is not met, learn from it. I really love giving support and care to those in parishes
as they minister to teens and serving as their spiritual “cheer leaders.” And I love sharing with anyone how they can support the young people in their parish and community. I love having the opportunity to share my voice and affect
change and to allow room at the table for others to share their stories. I really enjoy being an advocate for young people and being able to share their gifts and talents. And I just really love seeing the Holy Spirit move through my
diocese and being able to serve and give back to the diocese that gave me so much.
During a homily at World Youth Day in Panama, Pope Francis reflected on Mary’s life and calling. He said: “She felt she had a mission, she fell in love, and that changed everything.” I fell in love with the people of the Diocese of Gary and felt like I was called to serve them in some capacity. That calling changed my life. And I am so happy I said yes.