Home Education and Careers MaryAnn Wallen, Dan Pin part of new structure, leadership for religious education,...

MaryAnn Wallen, Dan Pin part of new structure, leadership for religious education, youth and young adult ministry in Diocese of Wilmington

Members of the St. Ann's junior varsity boys cross country team race to a win in the Catholic Youth Ministry championship meet. Photo courtesy of Catholic Youth Ministry

The Catholic Education Department of the Diocese of Wilmington has announced a change to its structure and to the personnel who will be leading it.

Daniel Pin, currently the associate director of the Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry, will become the director as of Aug. 1. His office also will take on responsibility for family life ministry in the Office of Youth, Young Adults and Family Life Ministry. Pin’s office also will include campus ministry and CYM sports.

On the same date, MaryAnn Wallen will begin as the director of religious education. She will oversee the office of marriage and family life and the coordinator for persons with special needs. Wallen comes to the diocese from Padua Academy, where she had been the campus minister.

“Basically, we did this because it makes a cleaner structure for the whole department,” said Lou DeAngelo, the secretary for Catholic education for the diocese. “We’re still going to do the same work that we did before.”

Dan Pin lends a hand as the cross is placed in its holder at St. Elizabeth Church in Wilmington during the 2022 Youth Pilgrimage, April 9, 2022. Dialog photo/Don Blake

Wallen worked in campus ministry at Padua for 10 years. She said a part of her has always focused on Catholic identity, and her new position will feed into that.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to see how we can invest in the young people in our church outside the Catholic schools,” she said.

A native of Delaware County, Pa., Wallen attended grade school with Father Rich Jasper, an associate pastor at St. Ann’s Parish in Wilmington. She has a bachelor’s degree from Neumann University and a doctorate in ministry from Duke University Divinity School. She began her career in Catholic education as an elementary school teacher and has worked with all grades.

One of the things she wants to do as director of religious education is build relationships with the directors and coordinators of religious education at parishes around the diocese. She wants to make sure they know they have support from the diocese.

Working with students, Wallen said she has learned to work with young people in their faith. She is excited to continue to do that in her new role.

“You have such a responsibility to help them understand where Christ is in their life,” she said.

MaryAnn Wallen

Pin said his new title and added responsibility won’t change too much of his job. Adding campus ministry is probably the biggest change, he said. His office, which includes Mike Speicher as coordinator of CYM athletics and office coordinator Jen Watson, is going to take on family ministry for people who are married, those with children too young for religious education, grandparents and young couples without children, Pin said.

“There are some cool opportunities coming down the pike. We’ll be working with a couple of other organizations as far as getting some local camps. I think a big thing I’ve been hearing from a lot of parishes and schools is there are a lot of things going on that are exciting,” he said.

His office will be looking at events like a praise and worship night, along with the events that have become familiar to young people and families in the Diocese of Wilmington.

He would like to see more parishes and schools become active in youth ministry, noting that the office has opportunities to grow.

“The more, the merrier,” he said. “I think it would be really great for everybody to have that type of expansion.”