On Aug. 2, Jonathan Kaltenbach assumed his role as director of the Office of Catechesis for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. His background and familiarity with the diocese are conducive to the role’s responsibilities.
As director of the Office of Catechesis, Kaltenbach will work closely with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and Carl Loesch, director of Catholic Education for the diocese, to develop curriculum and catechetical programming. Initially, he plans to observe the present programming, materials and processes before finalizing where he will focus his efforts. This will ensure that the alterations made, if any, are done strategically and for the better.
“In the coming weeks and months, I plan to take stock of the current catechetical programs and resources to see the many things that are being done well and to offer suggestions on what might be improved or strengthened,” Kaltenbach explained. “… no resource is too modern or too ancient if it helps to form intentional disciples who can witness their faith in Christ Jesus to their neighbors and the world.”
Kaltenbach plans to focus on the diocesan community and integrate any necessary changes in a collaborative manner.
“I hope to meet many people in their parishes, as we take up God’s call to be ‘built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ’ that we ‘may declare His wonderful deeds’ (1 Pt 2:5, 9) and ‘do good and share what we have’ as pleasing sacrifices to God (Heb 13:16),” he said. “Spiritual priesthood is a theme that is dear to my study and to my heart.”
In fact, working with and amongst the diocesan community is what Kaltenbach enjoys most about serving as the director.
“What excites me most about this new role is getting to know better all the great people of this diocese, as friends and siblings in the great family of Jesus Christ that is the church,” he said. “It is my privilege and honor to serve all the community, under the ministry of Bishop Rhoades, and I rely on your prayers.”
Prior to his new responsibility, Kaltenbach spent 12 years at the University of Notre Dame, where he had the opportunity to interact frequently with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and theology in 2009 from the university and his Master of Theological Studies degree from the institution two years later. This past year he completed Notre Dame’s Doctorate in Historical Theology. In the doctoral program, Kaltenbach’s primary area of study was the history of Christianity; his secondary area of focus was systematic theology. His dissertation explored St. Thomas Aquinas’ study of Christ as priest and mediator.
Kaltenbach’s experience as a teaching assistant, student assistant and instructor of record during his years at Notre Dame are expected to be an asset to his assessment and planning of diocesan curriculum. All three roles gave him direct experience with education administration.
Originally from Butler, Pennsylvania, Kaltenbach and his family have many connections to the South Bend and surrounding community. His wife, Mary Liz, works at the South Bend Women’s Care Center and earned her undergraduate degree from Notre Dame. The Kaltenbachs attend St. Stanislaus with their three sons, who were baptized at St. Patrick. Their eldest son is enrolled at Corpus Christi School.
“… I think our experience (as a family) within several local communities has been good preparation for service to the entire diocese,” he said.
During his free time, Kaltenbach enjoys doing “everyday things with the family” and a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling and playing basketball.
In his short time working with Kaltenbach, Loesch has witnessed a lot of potential for collaboration.
“The director of the Office of Catechesis is a critical position for us as we strive to implement Bishop Rhoades’ vision for catechesis and support all of the catechists and teachers in our parishes and schools,” Loesch said. “We are blessed to have someone like Jonathan, with his excellent academic background and deep personal faith.”
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