OUR FORMATION TEAM

Helping children draw nearer to God

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Sr. Bibiana Akpana Ikwun

Sister Bibiana is a ​nun of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus (HHCJ) and the superior of Canada Mission. She is the Religious Coordinator in Holy Cross Parish Winnipeg, and serves as CGS catechist in all 3 levels. Through her Sisters, the CGS is being used with the First Nation Communities in St. Boniface Archdiocese. Sister Bibiana is a Level 1 Formation Facilitator and has assisted in Level 1 Formation courses for over nine years.

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Lynda Catalano

Lynda Catalano has been the catechist at Holy Trinity Church in Fillmore, California, for 33 years, and took her first level 1 Formation at Notre Dame in 1991. She has worked weekly in the atrium with groups of 3 to 6-year-olds, 6 to 9-year-olds, and 9 to 12-year-olds. She has led level 1, 2 and 3 formation courses for adults throughout the United States and internationally, has been on formation teams for CGSUSA National Association courses, and leads courses in Spanish. She is a member of the CGSUSA Formation Leader Discernment committee and has been on presenting teams for Formation Leader Training Courses. Lynda is retired from teaching art, science, Spanish, kindergarten and first graders in a public school, and she has four married children and soon to be five beautiful grandchildren.

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Shelley Finkler

Shelley Finkler is a catechist and teacher who lives with her husband Jerry in Eagle River, Alaska. She has been a CGS catechist since 2009 and a Formation Leader since 2016. She is an adjunct professor of Christian Education at St. Herman's Orthodox Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska, a special education teacher, and a mother of 5. As one of two Orthodox Christian Formation Leaders in the US, Shelley offers CGS courses at Orthodox seminaries and parishes in the US with both Catholic and Orthodox-adapted content.

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Rosella Lucchitti

Rosella has been working with CGS for over 20 years and is a Level 1 Formation Facilitator. She is currently the Director of the Mary Help of Christian’s Children’s Atrium at St. Benedict’s Parish in Toronto and works in the Office of the CGS for the Archdiocese of Toronto.

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Diane Olsen

Diane Olsen has been involved in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd since 1990. She became a CGS Formation Leader in 2002. She coordinated the CGS program at Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa KS for 23 years. Diane has a B.A in philosophy and math from St. John’s College in Santa Fe NM and an M.A. in Pastoral Studies with an emphasis on CGS (MAPS-CGS) from Aquinas Institute in St. Louis MO. She is married, the mother of six and the grandmother of thirteen.

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Paula Rush

Paula went uncertainly to catechesis training in 2006 only to fall in love during the first presentation. Now she is a certified level 1-3 catechist and Level 1 Formation Facilitator. She helped establish and serves at the atrium at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Kitchener, ON. Paula writes a weekly blog for level 1, level 2, and level 3 children, reflecting on the Sunday Gospel readings. She and her husband, Jim, have five children and live in Waterloo, ON.

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Heather Skublics Lampman

Heather is an elementary music teacher and a recognized CGSAC Formation Facilitator. She spent seven years on the CGSAC board, completing her term as chair.  She incorporates Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Montessori methodology in her classroom and in sacramental preparation, and works in both Roman Catholic and Anglican atrium contexts.  Part of the Winnipeg formation team since 2011, Heather introduced CGSAC to Calgary and is still able to say she has been involved in every training there!

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Jo Thornley Cox

Jo Thornley Cox has been in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd since 2001. She is is a formation leader recognized by CGSUSA. She is grateful to have worked on formation teams in Missouri, Kansas, North Dakota, Texas, Nebraska, and Minnesota. A graduate of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College near Terre Haute, IN, she also earned a primary certificate from the American Montessori Society. She worked as a Montessori directress, a Catholic school teacher, and a parish director of religious education before coming to CGS. As a charter member of the SonFlower Region of CGS, she served on its board many years. She is co-coordinator of CGS at a Catholic school/parish in Kansas City, MO. Jo and her husband have three children and a granddaughter.

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Deb Zeni

Deb started working in CGS in 1989. In 1998 she received her Level 3 certificate and the following year started working as a Formation Facilitator. She has facilitated L1-L3 CGS courses across Canada as well as in Nairobi, Kenya and Fort Portal, Uganda. She received her MAPS-CGS in 2012 and her Doctorate in Ministry - Homiletics in 2021. Deb took on the responsibility of forming CGS catechists in an association in 2004. In Jan 2006, CGSAC was recognized as an official federal charity . Deb served in leadership positions in CGSAC through till 2019. She continues in her work as a catechist, Formation Facilitator, Formation educator, family physician, and grandmother of 5, soon to be 6 amazing grandchildren.

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Paola Azzuolo

Paola began her involvement with CGS in 1999. She is a Level 1 Formation Facilitator, has offered CGS formation for the Sisters of Charity in Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda and currently serves in a francophone atrium at la Paroisse Sacré-Coeur in Georgetown.

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Murita Chua

Murita is the Coordinator for all Children’s Ministries in the Archdiocese of Vancouver and a recognized CGS level 1 formation facilitator. She currently serves children as a level 1 catechist at Reach for the Stars Montessori and at John Paul II Pastoral Centre Atrium and a level 2 & 3 catechist and coordinator at St. Francis of Assisi Parish. Murita is a workshop presenter, mentor, catechist and archdiocesan consultant who has been training catechists in PREP (Parish Religious Education Program) and LWC (Liturgy of the Word with Children) since 2004.

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Trinka Hamel

Trinka began her CGS formation in 2007 and helped develop atria with two communities in Tacoma, Washington. She currently serves as a formation leader for Level I and as a catechist with the Children's Wisdom Center. Trinka spent many years as a speech-language pathologist in a public Montessori school and has a master's degree in Pastoral Studies with an emphasis on Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

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Catherine Maresca

Catherine has been a catechist since 1982 and a formation leader since 1987 in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She studied CGS in a series of summer courses with Sofia Cavalletti and Rebekah Rojcewicz and later assisted Sofia in teaching one of these courses in St. Paul, MN. Catherine is co-founder and catechist of Christian Family Montessori School in Washington DC, which is committed to an affordable education for children ages 3-12 and where the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has been incorporated into the school curriculum. She has also worked as a sign language interpreter for the deaf and is the editor of the much loved CGS songbooks, “Sing with Joy” and “Songs of Love.” Catherine is married with five grown children.

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