Head of Department of Evangelization and Catechesis retires - Catholic Courier
Maribeth Mancini retired as director of the diocesan Department of Evangelization and Catechesis on June 30. Maribeth Mancini retired as director of the diocesan Department of Evangelization and Catechesis on June 30.

Head of Department of Evangelization and Catechesis retires

If you’ve participated in the past 30 years in a faith-formation program or event tied to the diocesan spiritual renewal program, played CYO sports or been trained on creating a safe environment, your experience probably was influenced by Maribeth Mancini.

Mancini, who retired June 30 as diocesan director of the Department of Evangelization and Catechesis, has been one of the workers behind the scenes, making sure that things happened, said Sister of Mercy Mary Ann Binsack, who hired Mancini in 1982 for what was the first of several diocesan roles Mancini played in religious education and faith formation.

She became the first lay director of the Department of Religious Education in 1989, and later was named diocesan director of the Department of Evangelization and Catechesis and coordinator of diocesan Faith Development Services.

“She was responsible for so many of the major initiatives we took in the diocese,” said Sister Binsack, who was diocesan director of religious education at the time she hired Mancini and is currently secretary to Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark.

In May, Mancini received national recognition for outstanding contributions to religious education during the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL) in St. Louis, Mo., where she received the F. Sadlier Dinger Award. The list of previous recipients includes Cardinals Joseph Bernardin, Pio Laghi and Terence Cooke; the late sociologist and novelist Father Andrew Greeley; and many other distinguished women and men.

Mancini is no stranger to the NCCL, having served on its board of directors and as the organization’s president in 2001. She and her staff also received the organization’s Diocesan Award in 2013 for their efforts on such technological initiatives as an online learning center, online marriage preparation, resources for catechists, and websites for spiritual enrichment and understanding, including The Spiritual Pilgrim, (http://spiritualpilgrim.dor.org); the family-formation site Homelinks (http://homelinks.dor.org); and Forgiven, a website promoting the sacrament of penance (http://forgiven.dor.org).

“I’ve been so privileged that I’ve worked with so many gifted, committed, talented people in this office, in this building and in this church,” Mancini remarked.

Yet Sister Binsack said Mancini provided her staff with ample leadership.

“Whenever I asked Maribeth to do something, she did it to the fullest,” Sister Binsack said. “She just always was there doing what she did best.”

Also during her tenure with the diocese, Mancini led the three-year diocesan spiritual renewal Spirit Alive! from 2007-10; coordinated the annual Diocesan Day of Penance; trained catechists and volunteers on safe environment issues; led lifelong faith-formation initiatives; expanded programs for people with special needs; and coordinated several spiritual renewal campaigns.

“I think the thing that I value the most in the years I have been here (in the Department of Evangelization and Catechesis) has been the opportunity to lead an integrated approach to comprehensive faith formation,” she said. “We are trying to provide an environment where people can be formed for their whole lives.”

Mancini began her involvement in faith formation as a parish catechist and volunteered at her local parish while she was in college.

“I was very active in civic organizations, and I had terrific opportunities and I had opportunities to rise to some leadership positions,” she said.

She said she became committed to her faith and sharing it with others after attending a convention that featured challenging viewpoints.

“What I came to know was that my faith informed every part of my life, and what I had to do was move to a place where I could help other people do that,” Mancini said.

She earned a master’s degree in theology from St. Bernard’s Institute and, before working for the diocese, served as a catechist at St. Ambrose Church in Rochester, now part of Peace of Christ Parish.

“I believe God absolutely was acting in my life always, and I came to work here (at the diocese) and every part of it was an affirmation that, ‘Yes, this is where you are supposed to be,’” Mancini said. “I have had these moments, opportunities to continue to discover my gifts and talents and use them in building the kingdom of God.”

Mancini, 67, an Irondequoit resident, said she is looking forward to spending more time with her family, especially her grandchildren, in retirement.

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