A Letter from Former NCCL President Bill Miller
Contemporary Christian singer/songwriter Nichole Nordeman has written a beautiful song titled Legacy. Listening to the words compelled me to ponder: “What will be my legacy? “How will I be remembered after I have gone to my eternal home?”
Since 1981 I have counted on NCCL, and its predecessor NCDD (The National Conference of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education) for the information, networking and support I need to grow in my ministry as a catechetical leader. Indeed, NCCL has a storied history with over 80 years of service to those in the North American catechetical community. In the 1990s, members of NCCL were primarily responsible for working with our bishops to draft the marvelous document Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us (witnessing to the importance of Adult Faith Formation). Over the years, NCCL has worked closely with catechetical publishers to promote, and in some cases, design and distribute outstanding materials for catechetical leaders and catechists alike.
Throughout my 35+ year relationship with NCCL, I have been inspired and mentored by countless missionary disciples who live their lives for Christ. The relationships I have been invited to build with these remarkable people have brought me closer to our loving God. In the process, I have grown and blossomed in my ministry, especially as I have answered various invitations (“sacred calls”) to become more involved with the members of this outstanding organization. My years as part of the Representative Council, committee membership, and my time as president of NCCL all reinforced the importance of taking ownership of my responsibility to “pay forward” the incredible blessings I have received as an NCCL member. I have also learned the value of storytelling, relationship building and spiritual development in service to the gospel. Of course, at the heart of any catechetical effort is a strong foundation in theology, which leads one to appreciate the beauty and relevance of our Catholic faith.
As I grew in wisdom and intellect over the years, I discerned a call to spiritual direction and to writing. These tools have given me the means to further develop and share what I have come to know and love about God and the Church. Two years ago, I was invited to write a proposal for a book. The proposal was accepted and I went to work. The publisher and I settled on the title: Finding Your Spiritual Direction as a Catechist. On December 17, 2017, the book was “delivered”, much to the delight of this proud papa!
Like me, many of you have something to say…something to share with a wider audience. Some of you write articles or books, or both. Others design programs, develop retreats and the like. There is something beautiful being born in you. Have you ever considered combining your God-given talents with your love for NCCL?
Undoubtedly prompted by the Holy Spirit, I began a conversation with our Executive Director, Margaret Matijasevic, about how I might expand my relationship with the members and mission of NCCL. Together, we dreamed a vision for yet another way to connect members with the mentors and resources we require for successful ministries of evangelization and catechesis. NCCL calls this new initiative “The Legacy Project: Where Catechetical Ministry Lives On” – a collaboration among members for the purpose of sharing wisdom, knowledge and (perhaps most importantly) our passion for ministry. In the process, we lift one another and support the organization that we treasure…with a bit of treasure of our own.
A legacy can have a number of characteristics: loving spouse, dedicated parent, person of faith, generous supporter, one who gave witness to God, etc. I consider my career in catechetical ministry to be one aspect of my legacy, and I believe my book is an important contribution to that. Now I am interested in connecting this part of my legacy specifically to the living legacy of NCCL.
With this in mind, I have committed to donating a portion of the royalties from my book to NCCL. Each time you purchase a copy of Finding Your Spiritual Direction as a Catechist directly from NCCL you will receive a discount AND a portion of the proceeds will go directly to NCCL. Please consider participating in this creative revenue-sharing program as a purchaser, an author/creator or both. I sincerely believe these contributions, combined with many other sources of funding, will assure that current and future catechetical leaders and directors of evangelization are able to rely on NCCL for the information, formation and support needed to plant, cultivate and harvest in the vineyard of the Lord.