History of The OEEC
The Archdiocesan Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis (OEEC) was established in January 2016 to align with the pastoral planning process and the overall efforts of the Archdiocese to strengthen and expand the organizational effectiveness, efficiency, and responsiveness to the changing needs of the parishes, schools, clergy, and faithful of the Archdiocese of Hartford.
The ultimate goal of the office is to develop a continuum of faith development and Catholic formation that extends from childhood to adulthood. One of the overarching goals of the new office is to break down the “siloes” that often exist in pastoral ministry and to integrate the evangelizing efforts of those who serve the parishes and schools. The Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis is the product of the integration of two offices: the Office of Religious Education and Evangelization and the Office of Catholic Schools. Both offices had rich histories and lineages of service to the faithful of the Archdiocese, and look forward to a future of greater collaboration and ministry.
The Office of Religious Education and Evangelization (OREE) is the faith formation branch of the Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis. This office serves as a resource of support and guidance for parish catechetical leaders and ministers. It exists to assist the Archbishop of Hartford in carrying out his catechetical responsibilities as, Chief Catechist of the Archdiocese, through providing quality development, training, and resources for those tasked with overseeing catechesis and faith formation on the parish level.
The faith formation branch of the Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis supports those who minister to youth and young adults, catechetical leaders, those in ministry to the Spanish-speaking community, and forming adults in lifelong faith formation. The Office of Religious Education and Evangelization was at one time located in Newington, and has since moved to the Archdiocesan Center at Saint Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield.
One could say that The Office of Catholic Schools (OCS) was born when the first Catholic school in Connecticut was established on November 2, 1830 in the basement of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Hartford. The legacy of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford thrives despite relentless current economic pressures.
Today, more than 12,000 children and youth learn in 53 Catholic elementary and secondary schools across the three counties of the Archdiocese. Throughout the decades since 1830, mostly women religious from a number of dedicated orders would make possible the proliferation of our school network. The golden years of Archdiocesan education were 1961-1974 when, excluding secondary schools, there were 106 elementary schools, and the overwhelming majority of teachers were women religious. Catholic education will remain forever in the debt of those consecrated religious women who taught and left such an amazing intellectual and moral impact on so many who attended Catholic schools. The various ministries of these religious women demonstrated remarkable vision in building an academic and catechetical edifice in which such excellence flourished.Thirteen superintendents, initially titled "supervisors" and called to be "servant leaders," saw farther and dreamed bigger. Progress was cumulative, each superintendent widening the parameters of tireless predecessors.
The schools branch of the Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis remains steadfast in our purpose and vision to educate students intellectually, spiritually, morally, and physically in an environment that is Christ-centered. Student recruitment across the spectrum remains vigorous. Excellence in education is our hallmark in preparing future generations with the moral fiber to succeed in life. Development initiatives seem to have found "true north" on the Catholic school compass of priorities. Yet, Connecticut parish school closings are stubborn realities because of a wavering economy, lack of resources from federal and state governments, shifting demographics, and decreasing birth rates among school-age children.
The history of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese continues to be communities called to re-inspire - to stir into flame afresh - educational and spiritual energy to reinvigorate a new perspective for Catholic education. As we proceed forward, we ask for your prayers, support and resources in our shared quest to enrich this great legacy in the second decade of the 21st century, and for many decades and centuries to come.