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Hathaway ready to listen and advocate for youth throughout the diocese

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Diocesan youth and young adult consultant Vicky Hathaway

 

by MARLENE A. ZLOZA

Northwest Indiana Catholic

 

      MERRILLVILLE – Vicky Hathaway has been a leader in the Diocese of Gary for more than a decade, yet she’s only 32. That’s why she was the perfect choice for the new position of ministry consultant for the diocesan Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

      “I’m ready to listen, start and renew relationships with youth leaders around the diocese,” she said shortly after moving into her new Pastoral Center office on July 10. “I am planning on a ‘listening tour’ of the four different deaneries in late August to introduce myself to priests, youth and young adult ministers, directors of religious education and anyone else who wants to meet me. I want people to get to know me, put a face with a name, start a dialogue and find out what I can do to serve the parishes of the diocese.”

      She wants to reassure diocesan faithful that she plans to continue popular youth programs like Teens Are Praying Too (TAPT) and National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) trip, but is also open to ideas for new events and programs.

      The youth ministry coordinator and seventh-grade catechist at her home parish, St. Edward in Lowell, Hathaway has a head start at getting to know youth leaders throughout the diocese. She has attended virtually every diocesan-sponsored youth event and activity – as a participant and/or leader – served as a delegate to several Catholic youth conferences and traveled to three World Youth Day pilgrimages, including the January event in Panama City, where she was selected to carry the Via Crucis cross onto the stage as Pope Francis led the Stations of the Cross.

      More than ever, Hathaway admitted, her Panama experience led her to be “really thankful to be able to serve my Church” and to realize that “I am called to do what I am asked” she said in an interview after her return.

      “I know it seems silly to get emotional about standing in front of another person, but it’s Pope Francis. He leads the Church that has lasted over 2,000 years. He also remembers and cares for the poor, the suffering, the migrant, the refugee, the lost and the abandoned. He invites us into the mission of the Church, and he encourages, no, expects young people to jump head first into what God is calling them to do.”

      Hathaway, daughter of Deacon Bill and Laura Hathaway, credits St. John Paul II with inspiring her “call to ministry” when she attended her first WYD in Toronto, Canada in 2002. “He is my go-to saint on youth issues,” said Hathaway, whose favorite quote is from his WYD Mass homily:

      “You are young, and the pope is old, 82 or 83 years of life is not the same as 22 or 23. But the pope still fully identifies with your hopes and aspirations. Although I have lived through much darkness, under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. You are our hope, the young are our hope.”

      A Lowell native now residing in Crown Point, Hathaway was a San Damiano Scholar at Marian University, earning a degree in psychology and Catholic studies, adding a master’s in clinical mental health counseling in 2011 from Valparaiso University. She worked as a behavior therapist at Innovations in Learning in Hobart before joining the diocesan staff.

      In 2010, Hathaway helped host a symposium on young adult ministry, in 2012 she became the first chair of the Young Adults for Catholic Charities, a diocesan ministry that has raised more than $10,000 in cash and supplies for local social service agencies, and she has worked on the Bishop’s Council on Young Adult Evangelization. She also chaired the Young Adult Camino Pilgrimage last summer, and was a member of the original Synod Committee on Youth and Young Adults. She addressed the Diocesan Pastoral Council on youth issues this past February.

      In 2016, she received a scholarship to attend the national GIVEN Catholic Young Women’s Leadership Forum, where she “saw the female genius expressed in a supportive environment that showed young women that they have gifts to share (with the Church) and a vision that should be heard.

      “That conference was eye-opening to me about the many different gifts we have,” Hathaway said. “We need to remind youth that they have a place in the church – now,” something Hathaway is poised to do.

 

Diocesan youth and young adult consultant Vicky Hathaway works on her computer in her office at the Pastoral Center in Merrillville on July 25. Hathaway's ministerial and teaching experience includes functioning as youth ministry coordinator and seventh grade catechist at St. Edward in Lowell. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

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