Learning to Teach, Learning to Serve

Posted by Colleen Halpin on Sep 10, 2019 7:13:00 AM
Colleen Halpin

Halpin Echo title

Editorial Note: Throughout September, we'll be featuring profiles of people who are or have been part of the Echo program in the McGrath Institute for Church Life. Echo provides students the opportunity to earn a Master's degree from Notre Dame while gaining real-world experience in parish ministry or teaching high school theology, all while receiving robust spiritual and human formation.

What made you decide to enter the Echo program?

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, so when it came time to decide what to do after graduation, I started looking into programs that would allow me to teach. I majored in math and theology at Notre Dame, and always expected I would go on to become a high school math teacher. During my senior year, however, I was given the opportunity to work as an intern for the McGrath Institute for Church Life. I spent the year studying Marian spirituality and devotion, particularly in the lives of the saints. It was during this time that my intern advisor, Dr. Lenny DeLorenzo, encouraged me to continue studying theology. Echo presented itself as an opportunity to continue my theological studies, while also pursuing my dream of teaching at the high school level. 

What does your current ministry entail in your apprenticeship?

As a theology teacher as St. Joseph Catholic High School in Ogden, Utah, my primary ministry is to teach theology classes to 9th, 10th, and 11th graders. The day-to-day work of teaching is often exhausting but always rewarding. I enjoy being able to get to know my students as they begin to discover who they are, what they love, and who they are called to become. This often involves asking and answering difficult questions, but it is a privilege to spend time with and serve these young people whom God has created in his image.

What has been the greatest gift of your Echo experience so far?

The greatest gift of the Echo program so far has definitely been my community members. Salt Lake City is a beautiful place to live, and we enjoy, hiking, skiing, camping, and exploring the city together. Being able to talk through difficult situations in work and ministry with my community members was a constant reminder that I am not alone in my work. Though we differ greatly in personality and interests, we have learned more from each other and had more fun together than I would have ever thought possible!

What do you hope to pursue when you graduate from the Echo program?

After Echo, I hope to continue teaching. While I would be happy to continue teaching theology, I am also open to teaching math at the high school level. My teaching experience through Echo has given me a solid foundation, and I am looking forward to continuing the slow process of becoming a better, wiser, more loving, and more creative teacher.

Learn more about Echo


Topics: Echo, teaching, formation

Living and Handing on the Faith

The McGrath Institute Blog helps Catholics live and hand on their faith in Jesus Christ, especially in the family, home and parish, and cultivates and inspires everyday leaders to live out the fullness and richness of their faith in the simple, little ways that make up Church life.

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