Q&A with Marie Becker
Membership Type: Diocesan Member
Organization and Position: Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Diocese of Baker
Tell us a bit about yourself.
After a multi-decade hiatus in Idaho, this native of Oregon was called back to the diocese of my high school years to serve the Diocese of Baker in the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis. Married 35 years (to the same guy!) and mother to three young adults, I find great joy in walking with ministry leaders in our parishes serving families and the young Church. My journey to my current position has been one filled with many years as a parish volunteer, catechist, parish ministry leader, mentor to new ministry leaders, and cohort facilitator for Marathon Youth Ministry. My offline activities include gardening, camping, cooking, and sewing.
How has being a member of NFCYM helped you and your ministry to young people?
I highly value the learning opportunities NFCYM offers through its webinars and the Momentum series. The opportunities to connect and collaborate with other members and staff have benefited me and helped me gain new perspectives on ministry with young people across the US and in Canada.
What is your relationship with NFCYM? What does accompaniment mean to you? How has NFCYM accompanied you?
My relationship with NFCYM has flourished since COVID pushed the Annual Membership Meeting (now Exchange) online, and I could attend for the first time. That opportunity gave me insight into who NFCYM is, what it offers, and how it invites its members to be involved. I connected with the partnering with parent project (now the One Table Initiative.) I have found a productive outlet for a topic I have strong feelings about, and I get to collaborate with others who also feel likewise. Involvement in this project also helps me be a better ministry leader through the new insights and gain new connections with others in similar ministries. I think NFCYM has long worked to accompany its members through the many webinars covering so many topics of ministry to the young Church; however, the launch of the Momentum series during COVID that I began to experience how NFCYM could accompany me in my place of ministry, especially during times of change. Last year, I was able to attend the Exchange in person and share experiences and stories in person with other members and those who serve NFCYM as staff, and that helped to personalize my relationship with NFCYM.
Why ministry? Why do you do what you do?
I wasn’t blessed with a burning desire to serve others as a ministry leader in my childhood or youth. A farm girl, I was drawn to more agricultural studies in college. In college, I met people with little or no faith, and I began to notice a lack of faith as something missing. While my work in agricultural positions was short-lived, God worked through my love of nature, my hunger to learn, a want to serve in my parish, and the memories of my youth, to draw me into formational ministries for families and the young Church. Serving as a catechist and volunteer filled a space within me that seemed made for ministry. Opportunities unfolded that allowed me to lead parish ministries, and then join with the mission of Marathon Youth Ministry in serving those who lead ministries, and now to my position in the Diocese of Baker, a place where all my gifts and experiences have merged, and I am filled with a joy that only comes in faithfully following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
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? It could be a moment, antidote, or words of wisdom:
We have the greatest power available to us, prayer! It may seem small and too simple, and yet, it is the best and most beautiful thing we can each do for our ministry, another person, our core team or key volunteers, and the families and young people we serve.
NFCYM members can ask me about…
Faithfully surviving times of trial and change; family ministry; creating collaborative efforts with a deanery; adult and youth partnerships in leadership; working in a diocesan pastoral center that has actively worked to create a collaborative and supportive environment, where every staff member feels supported and looks forward to coming to work.
As NFCYM works to highlight the work of our Focus Areas, can you share how you have implemented them to help support your ministry? (Focus Areas: Essential Elements of Comprehensive Youth Ministry, Profession and Practice of a Youth Ministry Leader, Youth as Protagonists, Growth of Domestic Church)
The work of NFCYM’s focus areas helps inform some of the content my office engages with to enhance support to parish ministry leaders during monthly virtual gatherings and in more personal accompaniment or coaching.