Mary Ann Ronan, director of faith formation at St. Paul Parish, is retiring after 45 "hope-filled" years in faith formation.

Six of the  146 local confirmation and First Communion Masses scheduled this spring will get underway this week. Overall, more than 25,000 children participated in catechetical programs throughout the Phoenix Diocese this year.

The Department of Family Catechesis noted these and other milestones during its annual Celebration of Gratitude and Hope May 17 at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. Ryan Hanning, director of parish leadership support, presented token gifts purchased through Catholic Relief Services, to catechetical leaders marking significant years of service.

That included:

  • 45 years — Mary Ann Ronan, director of faith formation at St. Paul Parish in Phoenix. She is retiring this month.
  • 30 years — Paula Seamans, director of Christian formation at Queen of Peace Parish in Mesa.
  • 25 years — Laura Sweet, director of children’s ministry at Christ the King Parish in Mesa and Sr. MaryAnn Mahoney, IHM, who heads children and adult formation at St. Louis the King Parish in Glendale.
  • 20 years — Mary Mirrione, national director and local consultant for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

Five leaders at as many parishes marked 15 years working in faith formation in the diocese. Ten youth and catechetical leaders marked five years of service including Celia Sanchez and Meagan Rippee at Most Holy Trinity Parish.

Eight leaders “survived” their first year as Hanning described it and another eight celebrated 10 “wonderful” years. The latter group included Cathy Rogers and Roxanna Clower, both at St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish in Cave Creek.