By Cathy Harasta
The Texas Catholic
GARLAND—Sharing faith-centered stories around Boy Scout camp fires and immersing himself in teaching at a Catholic school in Iraqi Kurdistan helped sharpen Richard “Joe” Walshe’s desire to become a catechist and, eventually, a religion teacher in a Catholic school.
Walshe, a parishioner at Good Shepherd Catholic Church since 1980 and a longtime member of the Christian Community of God’s Delight, did not stop with the first tier of courses when he felt called to become a catechist.
He went above and beyond the requirements to earn his second catechetical certificate through the University of Dayton Virtual Learning Community of Faith Formation (VLCFF) last year.
“I’d like to go back and do more work,” said Walshe, who serves as the business manager at Mount St. Michael Catholic School and has a Master’s Level Catechist Certificate from the Diocese of Dallas. “A lot of my initial formation came through the Christian Community of God’s Delight. That was the catalyst. That community inspires a lot of people to serve in their parishes.”
The CCGD is a Catholic charismatic covenant community devoted to supporting the living of an authentic Christian life.
Walshe, a Garland resident, said that his interest in catechesis also intensified while he was an adult Scout leader for the CCGD.
“During the troop’s monthly campouts, it seemed that God was saying, ‘You know, I want you to read a story to the boys,’ ” Walshe said. “God was kind of directing me and picking stories of men who’d had encounters with God. I started reading a story at the end of each camp fire. I think the Lord used that experience for me to grow more into a role as a catechist.”
Walshe, who currently is not teaching faith formation at his parish while he focuses on earning his teaching certification, said that he enjoyed teaching post-Confirmation faith formation at Good Shepherd.
“I tried to engage the kids,” he said. “What I was trying to do more than anything was to make Jesus real to them.”
Blanca Alanis, the parish catechetical director at Good Shepherd, said that Walshe has been a blessing.
“Joe is extremely humble and very knowledgeable,” she said. “He and his wife, Kathy, have served the parish in many capacities.”
Walshe, who worked in the apparel industry, said that he wants a career transition to Catholic education.
In the summer of 2012, he and Kathy spent seven weeks in Iraq teaching English at Mar Qardakh Catholic School in Kurdistan.
“That was very powerful for me,” said Walshe, whose six children attended Good Shepherd Catholic School and Bishop Lynch High School. “There’s a part of me that still is in that classroom in Kurdistan. I want to teach. I’m just trying to do it one step at a time.”