On September 17, 1980, Ron Gariboldi of St. John’s Seminary (Brighton, MA), sent a memorandum regarding the “...possibility of a national meeting, January 5-7, 1981" prior to ATFE...” to “Directors of Field Education Working at Roman Catholic Seminaries.” Positive responses were elicited.
CATFE was born January 5-7, 1981 at St. Thomas Seminary (Denver, CO), where the First Biennial was held. It was decided that CATFE should function as the Catholic adjunct to ATFE, providing Catholic Field Educators with a forum wherein common issues, concerns, interests and accomplishments could be addressed. The intention was for CATFE to supplement the excellent forum for ecumenical dialogue ATFE was already providing. An initial goal was to keep CATFE’s structure and operation simple, participatory and economical. A Steering Committee of three was elected. This committee composed of one representative from the Eastern Region, one from the Mid-Western and a third from the Western Region. Their responsibilities covered general management, as well as facilitation, in alternating years of CATFE Regional Meetings and of CATFE Biennials. The First Steering Committee was Ron Gariboldi (the “Grandfather” of Catholic Field Education) for the Eastern Region. Dick Dorr, Mid-Western Region, and Anne Brotherton, Western Region.
During 1982, regional meetings were held and work began on a Mission Statement, Theological Field Education from a Catholic Perspective.
The second CATFE Biennial was held January 10-12, 1983 at Casa San Jose (San Antonio, TS). CATFE approved the Mission Statement and sent a letter to Bishop Marshall, urging adequate representation of Field Education in the proposed Study of American Seminaries. On the Steering Committee, John Freund replaced Ron Gariboldi for the Eastern Region; Ed Upton replaced Dick Dorr for the Mid-Western Region; Anne Brotherton continued to represent the Western Region.
In 1984, regional meetings were again held and agenda items for the 1985 Biennial were elicited. Dick DeLillio replaced John Freund on the Steering Committee for the Eastern Region.
The third CATFE Biennial was held January 6-8, 1985 at Rosemary Heights (Vancouver, BC). The Steering Committee was: Dick DeLillio (Eastern); a person to be announced to replace Ed Upton (Mid-Western); and Mary Georgita Cunningham to replace Anne Brotherton (Western). Participants pronounced CATFE alive and flourishing. It met the need for dialogue and mutual support. It helped clarify and develop Field Education as a vital discipline in Catholic Theological Education.
In 1986, CATFE regional meetings were held in each of the three regions.
CATFE’s 4th Biennial was held at Mt. St. Francis Retreat Center (Mt. St. Francis, IN) January 11-13, 1987. The Steering Committee was Joseph Konen, (Mid-Western), Tom Madden (Eastern), and Georgita Cunningham (Western).Members encouraged inclusive language usage and drafted a statement (with attendant questionnaire) on pastoral internships.
As had become customary, each of the three regions held a regional meeting in 1988.
The 5th Biennial was held January 8-10, 1989, at Queen of Apostles Renewal Center (Mississauga, ON). The keynote, given by Rev. Robert Kinast, was “Field Education in the 1990's for Ministry in the 2000's Preparing a Reflective Minister.” The new Steering Committee was: Mike Roebert (Western), John Budde (Mid-Western), and Aaron Laushway (Eastern). Soon after, John Budde was replaced by Donna Marie Bradesca and then by Jim McEnroe. Aaron Laushway resigned.
1990 saw Western, Mid-Western and Eastern regional meetings. Also during 1990, Jim McEnroe and Mike Roebert planned the CATFE meeting for Denver, 1991.
1991 - The 6th Biennial was held January 13-15th at St. Thomas Seminary (Denver, CO). CATFE was born there 10 years earlier (1981). The keynote speaker was Sr. Mary Michael O’Shaughnessy, O.P. Her topic: “The Affective Life: Help or Hindrance for Ministry?” At The meeting Fr. Howard Eleichner from N.C.C.B. spoke about the proposed first draft of the revised Program for Priestly Formation. At his urging, regional groups sent critiques of the draft to N.C.C.B. in the spring. The new steering committee was Dorothea O’Meara, CSB (Western), Mary O’Rourke, CSJ (Eastern) and Jan Viktora (Mid-Western). They were charged with organizing a meeting (1992) and planning the next Biennial (1993) in Texas. After consulting the former steering committee, it seemed advisable to have a CATFE Treasurer. Margaret Ann Hagan, OSU from St. Meinrad’s accepted the responsibility.
1992 - Western CATFE met at Vallombrosa Retreat Center (Menlo Park, CA) from January 3-5. The meeting focused on “Attitudes, Competencies and Skills Needed for Presbyteral Leadership.” Sr. Dorothy Landers, OP, from St. Patrick’s Seminary (Menlo Park, CA) was elected as co-chair of Western CATFE . Although Sr. Dorothea O’Meara’s ministry in seminary formation had moved her away from field education she remained on the steering committee for the completion of her term. Sr. Dorothy Landers, OP continued on the steering committee for 1993-1994. Mid-Western CATFE met at St. Mary’s Dominican Conference Center (New Orleans) March 13 - 15. Dr. Myron Madden spoke on “Family Background and Implications for Formation in Pastoral Ministry.” Members presented workshops on aspects of their programs. Eastern CATFE met at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception (Huntington, NY) from March 26 - 28. John Grimes, Professor of Pastoral Psychology and Pastoral Ministry at Pope John XXIII Seminary (Weston, MA) presented: “Family Backgrounds - Implications for Personal Formation and Pastoral Ministry.” The steering committee met in San Antonio April 3 - 5 to plan the 1993 Biennial.
1993 - The 7th Biennial was held at Our Lady of the Pillar (San Antonio, TS), January 17-19, 1993. This meeting followed the ATFE meeting (Austin, TS). In keeping with CATFE’s desire to examine cultural influences, the theme was “Weaving New Patterns for the Third Millennium: Focus on Hispanic Ministry.” The biennial was planned by the regional representatives: Sr. Mary O’Rourke, C.S.J., (Eastern); Jan Viktora, (Mid-Western); Sr. Dorothy Landers, O.P. and Sr. Dorothea O’Meara, C.S.B., (Western). The keynote was Rev. Virgil Elizondo. Focus sessions related to specific Hispanic ministry issues. Bishop Gerald Barnes’ concentrated on seminary formational concerns as they relate to Hispanic ministry. The prayer and reflection times were coordinated by Arturo Chavez and Mary Baez Chavez. There was a Pre-Conference workshop for new directors, general and regional business meetings. The regional representatives elected: Rev. Thomas Owens, (Eastern); Mary Pat Mulligan, (Mid-Western); Rev. Luke Buckles, O.P., (Western).
1994 - Western CATFE met at St. Albert’s Priory (Berkeley, CA), January 14-16. The group focused on current realities and trends in theological education and concluded that a critical issue is the validity and the urgency of training seminarians in synergy with lay women and men, at both free standing and union/consortium seminaries. Recognizing that the future of the Church is in partnership (collaboration, mutuality), the group emphasized the value of including laity in seminary formation programs. A proposal was developed, and Rev. Luke Buckles, O.P., the regional representative, was charged to bring it to the 1995 Biennial in the hope that CATFE would take it to NCCB. Mid-Western CATFE met at St. Mary’s Seminary (Houston, TS), March 11-13. Rev. Donald S. Nesti, C.S.Sp. S.T.D., delivered the keynote, “New Evangelization, Inculturation, and the Dominant American Culture.” Further discussion focused on training leaders in the U.S. Church, specifically by field educators; and how that task is influenced by culture, inculturation, and the present atmosphere in the Church. There was also a presentation and panel discussion, “Seminary, Seminarians, and Supervisors.” Suggestions for the Biennial in 1995 were offered by the group. The Steering Committee met in Minneapolis August 25-28, to plan the 1995 Biennial. Jan Viktora and Rev. Bob Pierson, O.S.B. joined them and agreed to act as the local arrangements persons.
1995 - The 8th Biennial was held at the Franciscan Retreat House (Prior Lake, MN) with a one-day trip to St. John Abbey (Collegeville, MN). Sr. Katarina Schuth, O.S.F. presented the keynote, “Trends in American Culture: Helps and Hindrances in Developing Partnerships for Ministry.” Gary Schoener’s plenary presentation was “Partnership in Ministry: Boundaries in Effective Supervision.” At St. John’s Abbey, Bernard Evans, Ph.D. presented “Partnership in Ministry: Churches Responding to Change.” Seminars were facilitated by CATFE members: Rev. Luke Buckles, O.P., Sr. Margaret Ann Hagan, OSU, Sr. Barbara Ann Hoying, C.PP.S., and Rev. Michael M. Roebert. Decisions: 1) to hold the biennial during the year that ATFE does not meet and 2) to elect three representatives at-large (with the general assumption that the three regions would be represented) and the representatives will have a rotation for the next two years, to provide continuity, but after that time the election will be for a three-year term, with a new representative elected each year. The Western Region volunteered to host the CATFE meeting in January 1996.
1996 - The 9th Biennial was held in Menlo Park, CA January 10-14. The Steering Committee was Rev. Luke Buckles, O.P., Sr. Jean Flanelly, S.C., Sally Gomez-Kelly and, elected, Rev. Tom Dragga.
1997 - CATFE met at AFTE, January 22-26 at Washington Theological Union (Washington, DC). The Steering Committee was Sr. Jean Flannelly, S.C., Sally Gomez-Kelly, Rev. Tom Dragga, and, elected, Rev. Robert Harris.
1998 - The 10th Biennial, January 16-19, was at the Oblate Renewal Center (San Antonio, TX). The theme: Getting Back to Basics. The Steering Committee was Sally Gomez-Kelly, Rev. Tom Dragga, Rev. Robert Harris, and, elected, Sr. Regina Robbins, S.N.D.
1999 - CATFE met at AFTE January 19-24 in Vancouver, BC. The Steering Committee was Rev. Tom Dragga, Rev. Robert Harris, Sr. Regina Robbins, S.N.D. and, elected, Johanna Chao.
2000 - The 11th Biennial, January 13-16, was held at Duncan Conference Center (Delray Beach, FL). The theme: TFE - Building Collaborative Ministry. Thirty-seven members attended. Keynotes: “The Ecclesiology of Communion and Collaborative Ministry,” by Bishop Raymond W. Lessard; “A Pastoral Reflection on Collaborative Ministry,” by Rev. Arthur C. Dennison, Pastor of St. Andrew Church (Coral Springs, FL); “The Formation of Lay and Ordained Ministers: Similarities and Differences,” by Dr. Zoila Diaz, Academic Dean, St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary; “Prophetic Responses to Social Needs,” by Bishop Thomas Wenski, Auxiliary Bishop of Miami, FL. The workshops offered: “Supervision 1,” by Rev. Philip Waibel, OSB; “Interfacing Pastoral Formation with other Aspects of Formation,” by Sr. Janet Sullivan, OSFS; “Assessing Theological Field Education,” by Rev. Alfredo Hernandez; “Supervision 2,” by Johanna Chao; and “Diverse Student Populations: Gifts and Challenges,” by Sally Gomez Kelly. The Steering Committee was Rev. Robert Harris, Rev. Greg Miller (interim), and Johanna Chao. A new Steering Committee was chosen: Rev. Hampton Davis, Sr. Charlene Nowak and Dr. Robert Lasalle-Klein.
2001 - CATFE met at AFTE January 17 in Boston, MA. Dr. Jean Liddell was elected to fill the Steering Committee previously held by Sr. Charlene Nowak. A positive financial report was given and gratefully received. The biennial theme was discussed. It was noted that 2002 is the tenth anniversary of Pastores Dabo Vobis and the 4th edition of Program for Priestly Formation.
2002 - The 12th Biennial, January 17-20, held at Hotel Provincial (New Orleans, LA). The theme: Refined in the Fire of Experience: Ministerial Formation for the New Millennium. Forty-three members attended. Keynotes: “A Fresh Look at Pastores Dabo Vobis: What Kind of Shepherds are We Forming?” by Bishop Gregory Aymond; “Forming Vision - Utilizing Gift: The Challenge, the Hope and the Accountability of The Institute for Black Catholic Studies in Training the Laity for Ministry” by Sr. Eva Regina Martin, SSF , Fr. David Theroux, SSE, and lay ministers from St. Peter Claver Parish. Workshops: “Culturally Contextualized Preparation for Ministry: A Story from the Pacific Rim” by Robert Lassalle-Klein, Ph.D.; “Preparing Lay Leaders for Rural Ministry” by Sr. Brid Long, SSL; “A Fresh Look at Theological Reflection,” by Sally T. Gomez-Kelley; “Dealing with Tragedy: Helping the Helpers,” by Jean Liddell Donovan, Ph.D.; “Teaching Boundaries and Norms Through Pastoral Field Education,” by Donald R. McCrabb, D.Min.; and “Clinical Pastoral Education and Catholic Field Education: A life-giving collaboration,” by representatives of the McFarland Institute. The Steering Committee: Rev. Hampton Davis, Dr. Robert Lasalle-Klein, Dr. Jean Liddell Donovan, and Sr. Beth Fitzpatrick, O. Carm. Business Meeting: Approved financial report, adopted history as “official record” of the association (rather than minutes), selected Menlo Park, CA as the site for the 2004 Conference (Jan. 15-18, 2004), surfaced the University of Notre Dame, St. John’s Family Life Center in Detroit, and Boston College as possible sites for the 2006 Conference, elected Sr. Mary Lange, SHF, Dr. Michael Corso, and Rev. Michael Connors as the new Steering Committee, and collected TFE Program Outlines.
2003 - CATFE met at ATFE 27th Biennial Consultation in Chicago, January 22-26, 2003.
Fall 2003 - There was discussion through the list serve hosted by Mike Connors at Notre Dame University about the Program for Priestly Formation 5.
2004 – The 13th Biennial CATFE Conference at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA, January 15 - 18, 2004. Presentations scheduled: “Who Do They Think They Are? Working With Lay Ministers in Today’s (and) Tomorrow’s Church” by Victoria Ries, “Pastoral Formation for Today’s Church” by Loughlan Sofield, S.T., “Consultation on Preparation of Lay Ecclesial Ministers” by Amy Hoey, RSM and Brid Long, SSL, and “Ethics in Pastoral Ministry” by Richard Gula, SS. Ann Garrido (Aquinas Institute), Mike Connors, CSC (Notre Dame), and Brid Long, SSL (Washington Theological Union) were selected as the leadership team.
Spring to Fall 2004 - Brid Long, SSL was elected to a leadership position within her community. Don McCrabb was appointed to complete her term. Mike Connors, CSC established a CATFE Website and continued to update CATFE’s list-serv. Ann Garrido, on behalf of CATFE, submitted an official response to the draft document on Lay Ecclesial Ministry.
2005 - CATFE caucused during the ATFE Meeting in Toronto, CA. (Minutes taken). The CATFE members decided on two year terms with elections at the biennial meeting. The members also decided to meet January 12-15, 2006 at the Dominican Retreat in McLean, Virginia. Ed Hahnenberg (Xavier University) will be the keynote speaker. The focus of the conference will be on theological reflection.
2006 – The 14th Biennial CATFE Conference at the Dominican Retreat in McLean, Virginia. Ed Hahnenberg was the keynote speaker. Tom Dragga, Lorraine Ste. Marie, and Ed McCormick facilitated two rounds of theological reflection sessions. Marti Jewell addressed the conference on lay ecclesial ministry and the Emerging Leadership Project. Dr. Jem Sullivan, from the Dominican House of Studies, provided a tour of Christian Art in Liturgy and Catechesis at the National Gallery of Art. Ann Garrido led the participants through a process of distillation and integration. The leadership team elected for the next two years was: Rosemary Brennan, CSJ from Boston, Elsie Miranda from Miami, and Don McCrabb from Washington, DC. The next conference will be at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida January 17-20, 2008.
2007 - CATFE caucused during the ATFE Meeting in Dallas, TX; minutes were taken. The conference title for 2008 is Stewards of the Mysteries - The Pastoral Formation of Ordained and Lay Ministers for Collaborative Ministry. The members affirmed Paul J. Philibert, O.P. as the keynote speaker. There was considerable conversation on balance within CATFE between the needs of those in pastoral formation that focus on preparing priests and those who focus on preparing lay ecclesial ministers. There was also a brief discussion of the changes made in the Program of Priestly Formation – 5th Edition.
2008 – The 15th Biennial CATFE conference met January 17-20 at Barry University, in Miami Florida. Paul Philibert, O.P., spoke on Reclaiming the Vision of our Apostolic church. At the close of the conference, during the business meeting, a steering committee was elected from the membership consisting of Dr. Elsie Miranda, Sr. Theresa Marie Tran and Fr. Tom Dragga. The membership chose the site of Cleveland, Ohio for the 2010 CATFE Conference.
2009 – CATFE caucused during the ATFE meeting and proposed a 2010 conference in Cleveland, Ohio. However, the members raised concerns over budget constraints do to the downturn in the economy and were not favorable to the topic chosen of ministering to youth and young adults. CATFE members referred the issue back to the steering committee. The Steering Committee established an e-mail survey of the members and found that the majority were not in favor of attending the conference planned for Cleveland, Ohio. CATFE members attended the ATFE conference in Atlanta, Walter Brueggermann spoke on Prophetic Proclamation.
2010 – No conference. The 16th Biennial CATFE Conference was cancelled due to the downturn in the economy and concern on the part of members with regard to seminary department funding. It was decided that the next Biennial would be held from January 17-19, 2011, prior to the start of the ATFE Conference.
2011 – The 16th Biennial CATFE met January 17-19 prior to the start of the ATFE Conference at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in San Juan Puerto Rico. Dr. Patricia Killen spoke on the topic of Theological formation and education of ecclesial ministers in increasingly pluralistic contexts. The conference title “Encountering God- En la Plaza” afforded participants the opportunity for conversation reflection and networking. At the close of the conference a new steering committee was elected: Fr. Mark Schramm, SVD (Catholic Theological Union), Br. Zachary Wilberding, OSB (St. Meinrad Seminary and Theological School) and Carolyn Wright (Aquinas Institute of Theology).
2012 - CATFE met at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana on March 1-4, 2012. The title of the consultation was "A Vision of Wholeness in Theological Field Education." Plenary speaker Ann Garrido, DMin from Aquinas Institute lead the participants in reflections on "The Spirituality of Administration," and "Administration and the Mystery of Time." Fr. Brendan Moss, OSB from St. Meinrad, provided the Capstone Address entitled, "A Call to Wholeness." Other contributors to the discussion included: Fr. Mark Schramm, SVD (Catholic Theological Union) on multicultural contexts; Fr. Frank Koper (SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary) and Dr. Theresa O'Keefe (Boston College) on collaboration; and Dr. Lorraine Ste-Marie (University of Ottawa) on reflection and practical wisdom.
2013 - CATFE caucused on January 24, 2013 during The ATFE Conference at the Williamsburg Hospitality House in Williamsburg, Virginia. The CATFE mission statement, vision and goals were reviewed as well as the website (www.catfe.net). The location for the following consultation was also determined. The newest member of the Steering Committee was elected: Dr. Barbara Sutton (St. John's School of Theology, Collegeville, MN).
2014 - CATFE held a consultation January 20-23, 2014 at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. The title of the consultation was “Blazing New Trails: Pathways to Transformation in Theological Field Education”. Speakers included Patricia Benner, RN, Ph.D, FAAN, of the University of California at San Francisco and Dr. Charles R. Foster, formerly leader of the Educating Clergy Project of the Carnegie Foundation. Dr. Benner spoke on practice as a way of knowing. Dr. Foster’s topic was the shape of practice learning and the challenges practice learning poses for theological education. At this event, a new Steering Committee member was elected: Sr. Mary Leanne Hubbard, SND (St. John's Seminary, Camarillo, CA).
2015- CATFE caucused on January 23, 2015 during the ATFE Conference at the El Dorado Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The ATFE Biennial Conference, "Changing Landscapes," featured Plenary speakers: Monsignor Jerome Martinez and Rev. Talitha Arnold (United Methodist in Santa Fe), who spoke of the unique place of faith in Santa Fe; and Dr. Kathleen Cahalan, PhD from St. John's School of Theology, Collegeville, who focused on learning ministry. The newest member of the Steering Committee was elected: Fr. Rodel Balagtas (St. John's Seminary, Camarillo, CA)
2016 - CATFE did not meet as a group in 2016. This was a rebuilding year, focusing on improving and expanding the www.catfe.net website, updating member information, and reacing out to possible new members. Since our CATFE members from Minnesota had offered to host ATFE Biennial 2017 in the Twin Cities, Fr. Allen Kuss and Sr. Charlotte Berres, CSJ from St. Paul Seminary and Barbara Sutton from St. John's School of Theology, Collegeville were instrumental in the yearlong preparation leading up to January 2017.
2017 - Seventeen CATFE members from thirteen Catholic seminaries and theological schools met on January 20 for a dinner meeting during the ATFE Convocation held in The St. Paul hotel in Minnesota. The conversations at ATFE among Catholic members and across traditions focused on the theme: "Across the Divides," playing on the the geographical position of the Twin Cities along the North American Continental Divides. CATFE member Barbara Sutton of St. John's School of Theology, Collegeville delivered a tone-setter at the beginning of the gathering, encouraging us to reflect not only on the geographical and physical divides, but also the social, economic, political and spiritual divides that are a part of the Twin Cities and our current ministries. At the Catholic caucus gathering, it was announced that Barbara Sutton was finished with her term as part of the CATFE Steering Committee, and Kathleen Castillo of Christ the King Seminary, NY was elected. Fr. Rodel Balagtas and Sr. Leanne Hubbard, SND both from St. John's Seminary, CA remained on the Steering Committee as they host the next CATFE convocation 2018 in California.
2018 - St. John's Seminary, Camarillo, CA hosted the CATFE Biennial January 25-27. Twenty-three CATFE members participated in discussions ranging from the current contexts of the Church represented in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to the new implications of the Ratio Fundamentalis on seminary formation to the reality of Young Adult Catholics in the changing landscape. It was also determined that a significant number of CATFE members were more interested in meeting only as a Catholic group and not as a Catholic Caucus of ATFE, particularly the seminary personnel. For this reason CATFE would offer a one-day option before the ATFE Conference to be held the following year.
2019 - Eleven CATFE members attended a one-day CATFE conference on Wednesday, Janaury 30, 2018 attached to the ATFE Biennial in Asheville, NC the following two days. Three more joined us by Zoom. We gathered for 1) an update on the software developed with Fr. Andrew Turner at St. Mary's Seminary, OH of an integrated online portfolio; 2) a discussion on theological reflection resources; and 3) the CATFE Business Meeting. Since the one-day attachment to the already-organized ATFE conference was relatively simple, it was determined that attaching CATFE to the National Association of Catholic Theological Schools (NACTS) that meets in Chicago each fall would be a good way to meet the goals of offering CATFE (separate from ATFE) a "home" to meet regularly. Some CATFE members are already meeting as leaders of their institutions at NACTS. The leadership of NACTS agreed to host us and give CATFE breakout time during their annual conference in October. Fr. Rodel Balagtas, returning to parish ministry, is replaced by Fr. Andrew Turner as part of the CATFE Steering Committee.