Mission Statement

The role of the Education/Formation Commission is to provide planning, direction, communication, support and consult in the area of Education/Formation for the parish. The Education Formation Commission supports all levels of religious education; encouraging all to participate in life-long spiritual formation through community-wide catechesis.

Commission Members:

A little information about our Commission Members:

Virginia “Ginny” Rusk

Ginny Rusk with her husband Fred raised their three children on Oak Street, a stone’s throw from Holy Family Now living in Pasadena, Ginny is honored to serve as a Eucharistic minister, challenged to model Christ’s love to children in religious education and growing in faith, love and hope through participation in HF servant leadership. Summers are spent in a rural Idaho community with a small, intimate parish, where services are often led by the permanent deacon. Holy Family and this small parish are part of the single body of Christ, yet very different. It’s a good experience.

Mary Elizabeth Ohde

Mary Elizabeth has been a parishioner of Holy Family for over 43 years; she has served in the Religious Education Program, Catholic Toastmasters and the Education Formation Commission.   Mary Elizabeth retired from the real estate office of the County of Los Angeles.  She is a mother to two and foster mother and grandmother to many.  As a philanthropist, Mary Elizabeth has supported Department of Children’s Services in the Black Family Investment Project, the Latino Family Preservation Project, and the Asian Family Project and founded the Santa’s Little Helpers and Santa’s Little Quilters

Dawn Ponnet
dponnetDawn is a native of the San Gabriel area.  She recently graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s with a Masters in Religious Studies.  She is a Master Catechist for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  She has been a member of Holy Family for thirty -five years and on staff for over thirty.  She has two adult children.  She enjoys going to the movies with her family, making jewelry and all things religious.

The Commission for Education/Formation is:

A community of disciples sharing their individual faith and gifts of the Holy Spirit, advancing each’s own formation and holiness

A catalyst for creative initiatives furthering the pathways to evangelism

The place to exchange information to/from the parish’s wide-reaching and diverse ministries, lending common direction to them

A working group supporting the Education/Formation ministries including but not limited to catechists, ‘sharing faith,’ sponsoring Education/Formation events and retreat work.


  • The Commission furthers education/formation throughout the Parish. Commission members serve first through their own ongoing formation. We must be evangelized to evangelize.  “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations.”  Holy Family is a parish intentionally growing into evangelism, getting better at evangelism, evangelizing themselves.  Commission members participate in each meeting with shared prayers and recognize that each of us contribute their gifts of “time and talent”.
  • Each member is a voice for the ministries they participant in or otherwise represent.  The Commission connects individual ministries to the Parish Council’s mission of leadership. The Commission forwards consensus and key objectives directly to the Council. Commission members offer their hands to our work but more importantly they expand perspectives through each member’s gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We work to ensure that representation of ministries includes voices for Holy Family’s different ages and diversity.
  • We may develop specific efforts to serve Holy Family parishioners.

Members of the Faith/Formation Commission:

  • Further education/formation throughout the Parish. Commission members serve first through their own ongoing formation. We must be evangelized to evangelize.  Commission members participate in with shared prayers and recognize that each of us are contributing their gifts of “time and talent”.
  • Are a voice for the ministries they participant in or otherwise represent.  Commission members offer their hands to our work but importantly they expand perspectives through each member’s gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We work to ensure that representation of ministries includes voices for Holy Family’s different ages and diversity.
  • Participate in service/events including but not limited to catechists, sharing faith, sponsoring Education/Formation events and retreat work.

An Education/Formation Commission Member

  • Serves in one or more key ministries within the Parish;
  • Provides a voice for those ministries, able to present and discuss their experiences and insights into the context of the entire Parish;
  • Pursues their own formation, including Commission activities;
  • Acts as an ambassador for all Education/Formation initiatives;
  • Listens attentively to the diverse voices of our larger community;
  • May lead ad hoc committees for specific issues; and
  • Attends one 3-hour meeting each month (usually on the third Tuesday evening), combined with approximately three hours of preparation.


Holy Family is an active and energized faith-filled community continually calling all members to embrace formation, participate in ongoing education to deepen their knowledge, and grow as disciples in relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Education and Formation Goals follow from the 2018-2023 Pastoral Goals

The Education Formation Commission will:


  • Help each one of the ministries under our purview look for more effective means to encourage an encounter with Jesus Christ.


    • Make sure our handouts at the welcome center are up-to-date, interesting and inviting.
    • Discover ways and implement these strategies for peer to peer contact for our ministries.
    • Make a survey monkey for our parishioner on how you like to receive our information?
    • Explore the use of our website for prayer intentions.Use outreach, digital media and personal contact to invite and encourage people to participate in our landing ministries such as RCIA, ReMembering Church, Trinity, and Alpha.


  • Use gifted, charismatic leaders to not only catechize but to also reach out in service and invite others to join in these catechetical-service activities.
    • Nurture and train leaders to be catechetical service mentors.

2016-2017 Education Formation Goals

Integrate Religious Education Congress outreach and attendance goals with Parish planning for leadership.

  1. Increase Parish staff attendance and participation
  2. Increase attendance and participation by ministry leaders
  3. Drill-down attendance goals within ministries through ministry leaders

Building on 2016-2017 efforts, continue encouraging parishioners to attend Congress for personal formation, transformation and community building.

  1. Work with Holy Family’s Religious Education program to integrate planning and implementation activities
  2. Develop “tool kit” for ministry-level outreach encouraging Congress attendance
  3. Identify mentor/opinion leaders to join Commission members in ministry-level communications and outreach
  4. Refine Gathering Place table outreach
  5. Define Parish reimbursement: for first time attendees and requiring attendance before reimbursement
  6. “Debrief” Holy Family attendees about their experience at Congress, using video as appropriate


Holy Family is a community of evangelizing Christians in which every parishioner and parish leader embraces all those who are seeking a spiritual home where they can find hope, meaning and belonging through their relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Education and Formation Commission will:

Support Parish leadership in developing model(s) for evangelization at Holy Family.

  1. Review & discuss alternative programs to use for evangelization
  2. Participate and support pilot session(s) of the Alpha program including post-session assessment
  3. Participate in planning and implementation of Alpha in the Holy Family community including as advocates

Alpha is a one to one communication tool selected for use at Holy Family.  It is “one arrow” for evangelical outreach to the complex body of Christ. Alpha brings those fallen away from the Church together to watch prepared videos then participate in facilitated discussions that invite them into the arms of Christ.  Beyond its focus on personal evangelization, its success is multi-directional. The Alpha process immerses engaged parishioners in their personal formation: participating and observing the Alpha sessions is a powerful opportunity for deepening knowledge and growing in relationship for Christ.


Holy Family is a place where faith-filled members are transformed by their relationship with Jesus Christ and empowered to lead and serve others as disciples of Christ made in God’s image and love, the Imago Dei.

The Education and Formation Commission will:

Expand communication and participation through its personal relationships with Parish leadership, ministry leaders and parishioners.

  1. LISTEN to Education and Formation ministries to identify specific needs and opportunities for parish leadership that directly affect them
  2. PLAN through ministry leadership to identify individuals for whom Commission or other leadership roles is a positive instrument for their own formation
  3. ASSESS AND RESPOND based on information provided by ministries’ stakeholders to Commission members: define how the Commission can realistically respond to ministries’ needs and expectations, reconcile these opportunities with Parish Pastoral Goals and develop a specific task plan for Commission members to pursue opportunities developed in dialogue with ministries

Commission members need to listen to stakeholders at the ministry level, the ones who are closest to the individual community members.  What are their needs, successes, constituents?  What has to happen to make the planning and representation roles of the Commission meaningful to them?  What outcomes do they need and why?

2016-2017 Education Formation Goals

  • Increase parish-wide participation in “Congress,” the faith and formation event held each year in Orange County.
  • Support the Year of Mercy with each ministry by sharing tools and themes from the “Evangelizing the Year of Mercy” workgroup.
  • Promote volunteer leadership though credible links between ministries and Commission members, effective outreach and demonstrable results.

Education/Formation Ministries

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