Meet Barbara Walko

Photo by Mallory Leann Photo + Design

Barbara Walko, the diocesan director of the Office of Faith Formation and Lay Ecclesial Ministry, uses the following phrases to describe her office: “far-reaching,” “multi-faceted,” “always interesting” and “never a dull moment.”

In the area of faith formation, the office provides support and resources to the parishes, schools and individuals who are engaged in ministry with people who are deepening their relationship with God. This includes support for parish processes, including sacramental preparation and for Christian initiation.

Walko explained that, though her office does provide resources to those at the parish level who are involved in catechesis for all age groups, their primary target is adults. 

“If not for a well-formed adult Church, who will pass on the faith?” Walko asked. “So that is truly our focus, to make sure that those who are entrusted with passing on the faith in our parishes, schools and families are passing on the Tradition.”  

Her department’s second area of focus is the formation of lay ecclesial ministers, people who serve the Church in a professionally prepared ministry, including pastoral ministry, faith formation, youth and young adult ministry, evangelization and more. 

Her office helps identify possible lay ecclesial ministers on the parish level and can guide them into a formational program, providing support along the way. They also process diocesan certification for all school and parish personnel, and they often visit parish ministers, hosting gatherings at the deanery and diocesan level for ongoing support, spiritual renewal and professional development.

“It is a real privilege to walk with people when they are discerning a vocation,” said Walko. “I believe God is still calling vocations to the priesthood, to the religious life and to lay ecclesial ministry. I think we as a Church need to be more attentive to recognizing a vocational call. Naming it. Nurturing it. Inviting people to learn more.”

In addition to the tasks that are associated with faith formation and the formation of lay ecclesial ministers, Walko’s office also manages the diocesan library, which is a graduate-level resource available to the public, providing direct services and tools to individuals and people doing ministry (Learn more in “Reader Resources” on page 6).  

Supporting the office’s efforts, Walko’s staff includes consultants Cindee Case and Margie Hynes, administrative assistants Therese Wells and Stephen Garchar, library assistant Rodney Lewis and office assistant David Burgess. 

“Our world is desperate for good news right now. Good news and hope,” said Walko. “We have the honor of seeing so many good and holy people and so many hopeful people pouring out their lives for the good of others.”

To learn more about the Office of Faith Formation and Lay Ecclesial Ministry, or the library, visit

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