Our Team

About the Pastoral Center

The Pastoral Center is a small (but mighty) family-owned business and ministry. Here is how we see our work:

  • Pastoral ministers helping pastoral ministers. We are Catholic pastoral ministers ourselves with extensive experience in a wide variety of pastoral ministries. We really understand the joys and challenges of ministry work.
  • Practical pastoral resources. We seek out and create excellent resources that leaders can put into use right away. We want to equip them with engaging, flexible, practical tools for ministry.
  • Affordability. We know parish budgets are tight and that you need to steward your financial resources wisely. That is why we offer extensive bulk-pricing, inexpensive booklets, and reasonable shipping cost. We've also publish downloadable, reproducible eResources with excellent content for a fraction of the cost of print resources.
  • Free pastoral coaching by phone. We have made a commitment to answer our phones live and to offer advice to ministry leaders. We're happy to talk you through your situation, give you suggestions, and point you to helpful resources (whether from us or another publisher).
  • Engaging, coaching, and equipping parents. A big part of our ministry is helping leaders evangelize and partner with parents to pass on their faith to their children. Our GrowingUpCatholic.com website lays out this vision.
  • Embracing creativity. We believe there‚Äôs a need to take a fresh look at pastoral ministries and try new approaches.

Bill Huebsch founded The Pastoral Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2008, launching the PastoralPlanning.com website. He passed on leadership of the ministry to Paul Canavese and his wife Ann Naffziger in 2014. The ministry is now based in Alameda, CA.

While we help many dioceses in their ministry, we do not have a formal association with any diocese or parish. We know there are many local "pastoral centers", but we are the "online" Pastoral Center.

About the Center for Ministry Development

The Center for Ministry Development was founded in 1978 as the Northeast Center for Youth Ministry, originally focusing on ministry with adolescents, providing the Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies program, adult training workshops, youth leadership and peer ministry training. This mission evolved to embrace ministry with families (1987), ministry with young adults (1994), and lifelong, intergenerational faith formation (1997).

The Center built a reputation of excellence through its work with over 150 Catholic dioceses and organizations in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and Belize. The Center provided its programs, services, and resources to parishes, dioceses, Catholic schools and universities, and national organizations. The Center worked for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on youth ministry, young adult ministry, family ministry, and Catholic social teaching projects.

Site Contributors

We're grateful for the many gifted authors who have contributed resources to this website. Here are some of our top contributors:

Jim Merhaut

Jim is the founder and director of Coaching to Connect, which provides life coaching, leadership coaching, married and engaged-couple coaching and ministry consulting. From 2011-2013, he was a Coordinator of Lifelong Faith Formation at the Center for Ministry Development. Prior to that he was the President/CEO of Villa Maria Education & Spirituality Center in Villa Maria, Pennsylvania. Jim holds an M.S. in Religious Education from Duquesne University. Jim is a published author, including the award-winning Your Catholic Family: Simple Ways to Share the Faith at Home. He and his wife, Debbie, make their home in Canfield, Ohio.

Jane Angha

Jane was Coordinator of Youth Ministry Services and Project Coordinator of Young Neighbors in Action for the Center for Ministry Development. Previously, Jane was Director of Faith Formation and Youth Ministry at St. Bernard Parish in Appleton, Wisconsin. She has worked with high school youth for the past 20 years as a high school teacher, youth minister, and coordinator of religious education. Jane holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin and a Master's degree in Theological Studies from St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin. Jane lives in Neenah, Wisconsin with her husband, Abbas. They are the parents of three young adult daughters, Sheila, Amy, and Jessica.

Tom East

Tom was the Director of the Center for Ministry Development, Project Coordinator for Youth Ministry Services, and Coordinator of the Certificate Program in Youth Ministry Studies. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles. Tom served as editor and author for Leadership for Catholic Youth Ministry (Twenty-Third Publications), Effective Practices for Dynamic Youth Ministry (Saint Mary's Press), and Ministry Resources for Prayer and Worship (Saint Mary's Press). Tom was also the General Editor for Call to Faith—A Thematic Approach to Young Adolescent Catechesis (Harcourt Religion Publishers). Tom is the 2006 recipient of the National Catholic Youth Ministry Award for National Leadership.

Joan Weber

Joan was the Coordinator for Young Neighbors in Action and Fashioning Faith at the Center for Ministry Development. She holds a Master's degree in Pastoral Ministry from Creighton University and a Certificate in Faith and Justice. She is the former president of the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association and content editor and author for the USCCB’s book Connecting Young Adults to Catholic Parishes.

Maria Scherer

Maria Scherer has been involved in one way or another in catechetical ministry of over thirty years. She has taught students from preschool level through high school. Maria has also organized and participated in many youth ministry activities including Young Neighbors n Action trips. She has an Advanced Religious Education Certificate from the Diocese of Green Bay, and a B.A. in business administration from St. Norbert College, DePere, Wisconsin. Maria currently works at Most Precious Blood Catholic School in New London as their technology teacher. She and her husband, David, have five children.

Kim Schroeder

Kim has a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from St. Norbert College, Green Bay, Wisconsin, Bachelor of Science in Human Services, and a minor in Psychology from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Mariette Martineau

Mariette Martineau has been involved in youth ministry in Canada at the parish, diocesan, regional, and national levels for over 20 years and a former full-time staff member of the Center for Ministry Development. Author of the book, Prepare, Celebrate, Live, Mariette is a regular columnist with Creative Catechist and Our Sunday Visitor's Catechetical Enews. Married with three children, Mariette has spent her life spreading the Good News through writing and training in the areas of children, youth, family, and intergenerational catechesis.

Gladys Pozza

Gladys Pozza is a Parish Catechetical Leader and a New Energies Parish Consultant in the Archdiocese of Newark. She has an M.A. in Pastoral Ministry from Caldwell College and is the recipient of the 2005-06 Religious Educational Excellence Award of the National Association of Parish Catechetical Directors, National Catholic Educational Association, and the 2003 Archdiocese of Newark Golden Jubilee Award. Gladys and her husband, Gordon, have a daughter in college and live in Mahwah, NJ.

Mary Ann Otto

Mary Ann Otto serves as the Stewardship and Special Projects Director for the Diocese of Green Bay in Wisconsin. Prior to joining the Diocesan staff, she spent twenty-two years in parish ministry. As a former director of faith formation, she treasures the many opportunities spent with adults, teens and children in "Discipleship Training." Her passion is finding creative ways to look at the world through "grace-tinted lenses" and sharing that with others. Mary Ann has a Master's of Theological Studies degree from St Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. She and her husband, Jeff, have been "graced" with five incredible children and one "amazing" granddaughter.

Paulette Chapman

Paulette M. Chapman, adjunct staff, holds a Master of Arts degree in Systematic Theology from the University of Notre Dame and Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. In 26 years of ministry, she has served in urban and rural parishes in faith formation and pastoral ministry for children through adults, as educational consultant for a regional, ecumenical resource center, and as adjunct faculty for Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Paulette has been involved in the training of catechists, Catholic school teachers and catechetical leaders; has offered workshops at the parish, diocesan and regional level; and has authored the catechetical leaders' handbook for the Diocese of Des Moines. Paulette lives in Urbandale, Iowa with her husband and three children.

Marla Overholt

Marla Overholt is the Pastoral Associate for Life-long Learning at Blessed John XXIII Catholic Community in Perrysburg, OH. She is also a consultant for Our Sunday Visitor Curriculum Division's eConnect website. Marla and her husband Steve, have three teenage children and reside in Perrysburg, OH.