Q&A with Michael Theisen, Director of Ministry Formation
Where are you based?
My home office in beautiful Rochester, NY, nestled between the scenic Finger Lakes of Upstate NY and the Great Lake, Ontario.
How long have you worked for NFCYM?
Just completed my 15th year working for NFCYM and entering my 30th as a member of NFCYM.
Outside of work, what do you like to do?
Simply put, I LOVE to stay busy! I always need to have a “to do list” somewhere in sight. In my 30’s and 40’s I enjoyed writing and published a number of books for Saint Mary’s Press (such as the Horizon
Program, the Ready to Go Series, and helped developed the Catholic Youth Bible). I also got into running and completed four marathons, the most memorable was the Cleveland Rock n’ Roll with my son, David, in 2008.
In my 50’s, my back and knees demanded that I give up running and I got into biking and decided to try some golfing, which has motivated me to live into my 90’s so I can someday shoot my age. I also love getting
my hands dirty in the yard. Mary and I also run Tandem Rentals, our small home rental investment company (and a shout out to one of our favorite modes of transportation). Over the years I’ve learned much about home renovations by (lots of) trial and (many) errors.
What is something about you that most folks might not know?
I became a devoted and committed Pittsburgh Steeler fan on December 27, 1972 after witnessing on live TV the Immaculate Reception. Shortly thereafter, I left home and entered St John Vianney High School Seminary where (wait for it…) I led a liturgical dance group (it WAS the 70’s after all). A few years later at Virginia Commonwealth University (Go Rams!), I met a fellow Social Work major named Mary Robinson who turned my thoughts from priesthood to fatherhood rather quickly. After 36 years of marriage and three (now adult) children later, I can honestly say it was the best decision of my life!
What you do at NFCYM?
I work to inform, form, and transform adults who work with young people through a variety of events and strategies such as webinars, NDDI, workshops, training programs, Strong Catholic Families Initiative, Holy Fire, our topical resource website, and personal encounters.
What is the best part about your job – why do you do what you do?
As a former parish youth ministry and faith formation leader in Richmond, Va. and a diocesan director in Rochester, NY, I know how valuable it has been for me to walk this journey together with others at every level, sharing wisdom, ideas and resources and collaborating with diverse groups of people to make it all happen. It is a privilege to be a part of a national organization that continues to gather, network, and form youth ministry leaders in this way.
Why should members connect with you?
My top 5 Clifton Strengths are: Maximizer, Strategic, Achiever, Activator and Arranger. This means I love working intentionally with others and their strengths in getting things done that serve to further our mission.