Pandemic or not, work of Catholic educators goes on


Pandemic or not, work of Catholic educators goes on


By Jackie Hopper

If there is one lesson we have learned during the coronavirus pandemic, it is that change is constant.  Trying to plan has felt a little like trying to nail water to a wall. However, as people of faith, we know from Jeremiah 29:11 that God’s plan for us is to prosper and the future is filled with hope.

I find great comfort in these words as we look to the first weekend of October when we will conduct our first completely “virtual” Catholic Educators Conference.

Our decision to make the Oct. 2-3 conference virtual comes from a desire to ensure we can meet, continue to learn and be inspired for the ministries in which we serve, no matter the circumstances.

As we wrestle with decisions regarding the opening of our schools and the resumption of parish programs for children, youth and adults, it has become clear that we are called to be hope-filled people of faith. 

Our theme is “For the Glory of God.” It is the same theme used for the Idaho Catholic Appeal. This theme unites us in the various ministries we do throughout our Diocese. Bringing glory to God is the reason we say “yes” to teaching, serving, leading and witnessing.  Nevertheless, in the months of dealing with the pandemic, we are tired and we need renewal. We need each other. Because of that, we believed it was important that CEC continue, even if in a virtual format. The online format is the lived reality for so many of us in our ministries, our careers and even within our families.

CEC will offer opportunities for retreat, praying together and refilling our cups so that we may continue to lead others to Christ. We will also have workshops for our specific ministries, including certification workshops. We will have the opportunity to socialize and share best practices.

On Oct. 2, the English-speaking attendees will participate in a retreat while the Spanish-speaking cohort engage in workshops. On Oct. 3, Spanish-speaking attendees are in retreat while the English cohort engage in workshops. There will also be time for collaboration in all types of ministries and time for socializing as well. We will intersperse the two days with drawings for “door prizes,” as well as insights from Dr. Sarah Quilici, Superintendent of Catholic Schools; Deacon Sal Carranza, director of Youth and Young Adult Evangelization; and myself.  

We’re excited to welcome Becky Eldredge, who will lead the English-speaking retreat.

Based in Baton Rouge, La., Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director and retreat facilitator who invites people deeper in their walk with Christ. Passionate about Ignatian spirituality and teaching people how to pray and discern, she leans on her 20 years of ministry experience to help people make room for God in their daily lives. She is the author of, “Busy Lives & Restless Souls,” and “The Inner Chapel.” She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Louisiana State University, a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University in New Orleans, and a certificate in spiritual direction from Spring Hill College. She offers reflections and prayer resources on her website,

Leading the Spanish-speaking retreat is Father Julio Vicente.

Father Vicente is pastor at St. Edward’s Parish in Twin Falls. Since his ordination in 2008, he has served in Mountain Home, Lewiston and Burley, before his current assignment.

With a virtual format, the cost decreases, but access to everything increases. Not only will you have access to the retreat in both English and in Spanish, but you will also be able to attend all of the workshop offerings. Once you register, you will have access to the full content for 30 days past the event.  

To register go to and search for CEC Boise.

Hopper is director of Religious Education and Catechetical Leadership for the Diocese of Boise.




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