Welcome to the NFCYM Member-Only Site!

Q&A with Dr. Patrick Donovan,

Member Type: Diocesan


Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was serving as the regional rep for region XIV (now region IV) when I met my wife, Maureen Gross. We were married in 2004 and have four children. In 2016, we moved the family to Fairfield, CT at the invitation of Bishop Frank Caggiano.


How has being a member of NFCYM helped you and your ministry to young people?
For me, it’s all about the connections and resources. No one draws people in ministry together like the NFCYM. Whether it’s a webinar, adult conferences, or NCYC, the opportunity to stay connected is enormous. The federation is often my first stop when it comes to looking for resources that are informative, responsive, and timely.

What does accompaniment mean to you and how has NFCYM accompanied you?

When I attended NDDI back in 1999, our group was challenged to be the “keeper of the vision” and I took that to heart. Now that I have left day-to-day youth ministry and my work is more strategic and catechist-oriented, my vision has shifted. That challenge given to me by the Federation years ago still applies. It has colored everything.


Why ministry? Why do you do what you do? 

I like watching the lights go on when you teach a child something new. I love the creativity it sparks and the opportunities it opens. Sharing our faith is just that: being a witness to those who may not know Christ. We are called to be witnesses. As long as there are stories of faith to tell, we will be blessed with powerful witnesses in our lives.


What are some unique ways you have ministered and accompanied through these times?

Changing times call for changing methods. This is an exciting time in ministry. We must never say, “We’ve always done it that way.” To do so stifles creativity. Now is a chance for us to get out of the box and dream big – nothing is off the table, because this “table” has not existed in our lifetimes. This is a chance to build something new out of something awful and we cannot sit on the couch and long for what we had before – especially if what we had was not that effective in the first place.


If you could share one thing with other ministers, parents, families, and clergy, that you have learned throughout your experience ministering what would it be? 

When our youngest was two, she was struggling to pay attention at Mass. In that moment of silence just before we go from kneeling to sitting after Communion, she asked how much longer. I told her, “just one more prayer and one more song.” She called out, “Church is hard….” She was right. Church is hard. There are internal politics and messes just like you would find in a family. But love is messy. When we are in love with a God who won’t let go, we should remember that “church is hard…” and keep moving forward anyway.


NFCYM members can ask me about…
I love using modern media to teach. I love trying to solve the unsolvable problems in ministry. I love being a dad and a Catholic and thinking outside the box. Ask me a question about ministry and then let’s work together to solve it.

Check out the Institute’s website www.formationreimagined.org and sign up for our newsletter. I stink at social media, but I think our site is impressive and we are always willing to share what we’ve learned.

Latest Member-Exclusive Content

Yazmín Maní Malone

Pastoral Juvenil Hispana Coordinator,
Diocese of Austin

Diocesan Member

"NFCYM has accompanied me in reaching out to like minded professionals to better provide service (ministry) to adolescents. NFCYM has allowed me to network and grow professionally.

'Youth as Protagonists' has been essential to Pastoral Juvenil Hispana in the Diocese of Austin."

Eva P. Delgado

Youth Minister, St. Christopher Church

Associate Member

"The various resources have helped me keep our program exciting and vibrant. NFCYM has provided me with shared information via webinars, workshops, conferences, outreach, and opportunities that are very informative to help make my ministry successful.

NFCYM is an open forum for me to seek material, guidance and support in keeping the youth ministry program successful."