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Archives Croghan faith formation program - named in honor of St. Francis - celebrates 40th anniversary
What’s in a name?

Sept. 27, 2017

By Thomas Schneeberger
St. Stephen’s Church, Croghan

Croghan -  As I began to reflect on the question, “what’s in a name?” three thoughts or images came to mind. A name gives a sense of purpose. A name gives a sense of identity. A name can give us something or someone to aspire to…standing on the shoulders of those gone before us.

The St. Francis Faith Formation Center of St. Stephen’s Church, found its name, its identity in 1977 as the parish school was about to close. Father Leo Memorial School had served the parish educational needs for 75 years. The sustainability of the school and maintaining its future offering a quality Catholic education was not going to be an option.

The parish education council was mindful that the faith formation of its children, youth, and families, was a priority. Thus, it was not an alternative to simply close a school without continuing to offer a professionally coordinated program of Catholic education and formation.

Important to note that St. Stephen’s parish (at that time) was served by the Franciscan Fathers of Holy Name Province. In fact, the friars had been in Croghan since 1876.

Also, unique to the parish were the four mission churches serving the neighboring communities of Castorland, New Bremen, Indian River, and Belfort. Those churches have all closed and Holy Name Province turned the pastoral care of St. Stephen’s to the Diocese of Ogdensburg in 1990.

The educational council in 1977 was made up of parishioners from each of the mission churches. The members wished to respect and be inclusive of each church as well as to honor the patron saint of the Friars. Thus, the new education center was named after St. Francis.

So, in 2017, forty years later, we stand on the shoulders of that visionary group of people. We continue to honor their foresight, we hope to inspire our children and families with the name of St. Francis as a model.

As a result, we (all those committed to the ministry of catechesis) have a sense of identity and purpose.

The St. Francis Religious Education Center, Christian Formation Center, Faith Formation Center continues to be a highly successful and respected program because of the engaging Catholic curriculum (within the guidelines of the GDC, the CCC, the U.S.  Bishops), structured activities, and opportunities for personal growth.

Supported by faithful catechists, youth ministers, adult faith facilitators, and many, many others the center has and will continue to offer catechesis for a lifetime… “empowering faith to become living, conscious, and active.”
St. Francis, pray for us!

St. Francis Award
Once a year since the beginnings of the center, an award has been presented to an individual in the program who has exhibited extra-ordinary efforts on the behalf of children, youth, and families. The St. Francis Award keeps ever before us the patron saint as someone to aspire to.

The award recipients have been Bob Widrick, Beverly Bush, Mae Schneeberger, Pearl Sienkiewicz, Jeanne Merry Laura Chartrand, Peggy Geiger, Jean Golden, Tony Tabolt, Arline Bush, Patricia Flint, Ellie Hoppel, Michelle Watkins, AnnMarie Guiffre, Jane Kalamas, Dottie Gagnier, Mary Dutton, Beverly Buckingham, Paul & Rhonda Campeau, Theresa Golden, Bernadette Tabolt, Millie Monnat, Peter Woolschlager, Dan Golden, Yvonne Albertson, Ellen Scanlon, Theresa Houppert, Justin Andre, Joan Terrillion, Caree Turck, Jane Sweeney, Gretchen Monnat, Melinda Halko, Robert & Sharon Peters, Matthew Andre, Eileen Greenwood, Yvonne Kirschner, Caitie Lashbrooks & Jenna Greenwood and Ethel Hoch.

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