WDREF Biennial Convention - November 9-11, 2016
Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake WI
The 2016 WDREF Biennial Convention - “The Heavens Proclaim God’s Glory,” will be held November 9 – 11, 2016 at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake WI. Our convention will explore the rich and exciting ways in which the realms of science and faith are intersecting today, and how this interplay informs faith formation in the 21st century.
Throughout history the church has been an ardent supporter of scientific discovery and education interpreted through the eyes of faith. Examples include Franciscan Father Roger Bacon, who is known as the “father of the modern scientific method,” Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian whose research laid the groundwork for the field of genetics, and St. Hildegard of Bingen, a Doctor of the Church, who wrote of theology, medicinal and botanical subjects. Today, Pope Francis is a degreed chemist, and his much-anticipated encyclical on the environment will continue this essential tradition. And, the Vatican Observatory, with locations in Tucson AZ and Castle Gandolfo Italy is a world leader in the science of astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology. As always, practical ideas for our local ministries will be offered.
The Convention will begin on Wednesday evening, November 9, with a fun pre-conference event. Thursday and Friday will include sessions with our keynote speaker, Sr. Linda Gibler, OP, PhD, roundtable sharing of resources and programming ideas, breakout sessions (see the updated brochure below for breakout session options), an awards banquet and time for prayer and relaxation. Additionally, exhibitors will offer a wide variety of ministry resources for our parousal. The Osthoff is a condominium style AAA Four Diamond-rated resort with suites, which include bedrooms, full kitchen and living room area with a fireplace, many with lake views. It will provide a perfect setting for exploring the ways of our creator God.
UPDATED Convention Brochure/ Registration Form
2016 Convention Grant Application (Due September 30, 2016)
The 2015 WDREF Retreat was held November 4-6 at St. Anthony Spirituality Center in Marathon. The theme was, Church of Mercy: The Gift and Challenge of Pope Francis’ Call. On November 20, 2016 Pope Francis is calling for a “Holy Year of Mercy.” Our facilitator, Dr. Jacquelyne Witter reflected on and explored the quality of mercy and Pope Francis' call that it Characterize the Church as we consider how this vision of the Church shapes our self-understanding as ministers and our approach to ministry. View 2015 Retreat Brochure
The 17th biennial WDREF Conference, “We Are a People of Faith”, was held November 13-14, 2014 at the Waupaca Alehouse and Comfort Suites. A pre-conference wine, cheese and chocolate” event included games and socializing.
The general speaker, Matt Weber is a producer for CatholicTV where he hosts a weekly segment, “A Word with Weber”, which airs internationally. He is a Huffington Post contributor and author of “Fearing the Stigmata: Humorously Holy Stories of a Young Catholic’s Search for a Culturally Relevant Faith”, published by Loyola Press. Loyola Press graciously sponsored his being with us.
Thursday morning, Matt’s presentation, “Re-imaging the Young Catholic Imagination-Witness Through Joyful Storytelling”, led us in unpacking our stories of faith using “STORY” as a model. STORY stands for Structure, Trial, Openness, Redemption and Renewal, and You-nique. His Friday morning presentation centered around strategies for evangelization in the digital age, and on Friday afternoon he reflected on “Why This 30 Year Old Still Goes to Church (Yet Doesn’t Always Like It).”
Afternoon breakout sessions included “Helping Catechists be Great Evangelizers”, presented by Julianne Stanz, and “Faith, Family, Evangelize”, with Kathie Amedei. Green Bay Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau presided at the conference Mass at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Waupaca prior to the evening awards banquet at which Dave Beaudry was presented with the Stephen C. Gilmour Award for Leadership in Ministry.
Living our Baptism as Priest, Prophet, King
The October 2013 WDREF Retreat was held at St. Anthony Spirituality Center in Marathon City, WI. Fr. James kubicki, SJ, National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer, was our facilitator.
Through talks, quiet time, prayer together, and sharing, we reflected on the difference Baptism makes. Through Baptism we are joined to the Body of Christ and share in the mission of Jesus to be prophets, priests, and a royal people. Our retreat helped us dive deeper into the mystery of baptism and what it means for our daily lives.
View 2013 Retreat Photos
WDREF held its 17th biennialConference November 8-9, 2012, at the Lodge at Crooked Lake in Siren Wisconsin with parish catechetical leaders from around
the state in attendance. The theme of “Share the Story, Proclaim God’s Glory” was addressed by speakers Joe Paprocki and Carole Eipers.
Participants were engaged in a variety of informational workshops including Theology of the Body and Chastity Education; Catechism of the Catholic Church; and Technology – creating Animoto and Smilebox video slideshows and sharing work via Google Docs.
The awards banquet on Thursday, was held at the nearby Forts Folle Avoine historical site where the Steven Gilmore Award for excellence in catechetical ministry, Henriette Mackin Award for support of catechetical ministry and the Good and Faithful Servant Award were presented.
Mass on Thursday was rich in it’s uniqueness. The first church that was built in this part of the state was an Indian Mission Church. To honor that aspect of the Catholic story and in celebration of Kateri Tekawitha being canonized a saint, Native Dancers from a parish in the Diocese of Superior joined in the celebration of the Mass and performed the story of Kateri's life afterwards.
Overall it was a beautiful conference. Thanks to all who attended including our amazing exhibitors, and a special note of gratitude to SUMMIT and the Diocese of Superior for being excellent hosts!
View Conference Evaluation Results
View Smilebox Conference Slideshow
View Conference Flickr Photos
WDREF Retreat 2011 (Marathon, WI)
“Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude”
Thanks to all who attended the 2011 WDREF Retreat on Nov 3-4, 2011 at St. Anthony's Retreat Center! Jennifer Christ led WDREF members in “Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude”...it was a rejuvenating and inspiring time for all. Jennifer pointed out that gratefulness is a “Great Fullness” of heart, drawing from scripture the metaphor of a softened heart, a heart of flesh as vital to living a life of gratitude.
Another metaphor she shared was that of the plant, which leans toward the light. Even when we don’t feel gratitude – we can lean toward it as we lean toward the light of Christ. Along the way, Jennifer examined barriers to gratitude such as judgment, envy, regret, and an unwillingness to forgive. She provided the group with practical tips on how to get past
such barriers, and her easy smile made it easy to practice gratitude while on retreat.
The retreat included time for silent reflection in the beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces of the Spirituality Center’s holy ground. There was also time for camaraderie and fun in sharing our calling to ministry. Overall, our hearts were filled with peace, joy and gratitude.
We want to extend a special thanks to Dave Baudry for the Smilebox video review of the Retreat! He did a wonderful job of capturing the complete experience in a beautiful presentation to music. Check it out!: View Retreat Photos
You can also view the same photos from the retreat in our WDREF flickr account by clicking the Photos tab above.
2010 WDREF Convention (Green Lake, WI)
An enthusiastic crowd celebrated 30 years of WDREF at our convention in November. The theme was “Soul of Leadership: Responding to the Call.” The ‘waters’ of the five dioceses were gathered for the blessing of all, and Mass was celebrated with Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison. A vintage-dress gala banquet and dance was held with a ‘style show’ for evening entertainment. To view pictures from the event, click on the Photos tab at the top.
In addition, we had wonderful speakers. Bishop John Barres, of the Diocese of Allentown, PA, offered a very inspiring vision of the current directions within the Church. He named six important areas where we, as parish catechetical leaders, can assist people in re-connecting with their faith and making it a more integral part of their lives. Dr. Jane Regan, Associate Professor of Theology at Boston College, focused on four key ways that we can help Catholics to moor themselves to their faith and their parish so that Gospel values become an intimate part of their everyday lives.
Click here for a helpful summary of Bp. Barres' and Dr. Regan's presentations, courtesy of Joanie McKeown, a PCL and WDREF Board Rep. from the Diocese of Superior.
We are looking forward to our 2012 WDREF Conference at The Lodge at Crooked Lake in Siren, WI. Check back for more details coming soon.