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Bishop names Stankewicz to direct Religious Education office

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Dialog Editor

Bishop Malooly announced Nov. 2 that he is appointing Michael J. Stankewicz director of the Office for Religious Education as of Jan. 2, 2012.

Stankewicz, who will remain director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life, succeeds Edmund F. Gordon, who has served nearly 30 years in religious education.

A native of Southold, N.Y., Stankewicz is a member of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Hockessin, with his wife, Teri, and their two children, Laura, 10, and Olivia, 8.

Stankewicz, 48, said Nov. 7 he intends to meet as many parish directors of religious education, catechists and pastors as possible in the coming weeks to learn about their needs.

“I hope to continue to uphold the wonderful work which Ed Gordon has established during his 30 years,” Stankewicz said.

The next religious education director, currently in the fourth year of studies for the diocese’s permanent diaconate, is a product of both five years in a Catholic school and of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) religious education classes.

With his daughters attending religious education courses at St. Mary of the Assumption, Stankewicz said he finds catechists much more engaged these days and he realizes the challenges parish DREs face finding volunteer catechists and running programs. The challenges are “not only instructional, but organizational, too,” he said, adding, he expects to approach his new duties as a “realist and pragmatist.”

Stankewicz joined the Diocese of Wilmington in March 2010 as the director of the Office for Family Life, now the Office for Marriage and Family Life. He had been a senior vice president at Bank of America.

A graduate of Southold High School in New York, Stankewicz attended college at the Cathedral College Seminary in Douglaston, N.Y., where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He then studied at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, N.Y, where he received a master’s degree in theology.

An assistant director for the Office of Marriage and Family Life is expected to be named shortly, according to a statement from Msgr. J. Thomas Cini, vicar general of the diocese.

During Gordon’s nearly 30 years in religious education for the diocese, his focus has been the improvement and the strengthening of religious education programs at the parish level. He worked tirelessly to assure that parishes of the diocese retained a qualified director or coordinator of religious education, initiating the Loyola Institute for Ministry Extension (LIMEX) Program to assure that people could qualify as a director of religious education, earning their master’s degree through LIMEX, Msgr. Cini said.

Gordon was also instrumental in developing standardized programs for the certification of volunteer catechists for parishes, integrating technology into the programs.  He worked with the Youth Ministry Office to develop an integrated youth catechesis effort.

Gordon’s last day of work is Dec. 31.

“We wish him well and thank him for his many, many years of service,” Msgr. Cini said.

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