By Catherine Mulhern, The Catholic Sun

When Ana Luisa Martinez de Carrillo visited the hair salon for her regular trim, she wasn’t expecting to be introduced to a faith-based program that would change her life.

This unexpected gift unfolded over a series of conversations with her stylist, a long-time friend who shares the Catholic faith. As they spoke about the ups and downs of life, teachings of the Church would occasionally arise. Martinez de Carrillo was not only struck that her friend always seemed to know the answers, but that she exuded a joy when she shared them.

Your gift to the Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) sets the hearts of lay and religious Catholics ablaze, sending them forth to joyfully spread the Gospel in every corner of the Diocese of Phoenix. You change the lives of thousands through your support of Kino and 70 additional CDA-funded ministries.

“She was attending classes and learning about the faith,” said Martinez de Carrillo. “I could tell that she was falling in love with something, or in this case, Someone. She was coming to know Jesus in a really personal way, and I desired that same love and joy in my life.”

So much so that Martinez de Carrillo started scheduling hair appointments, typically 40-minutes long, in time slots that would allow her to stay in the salon for hours, extending their conversations.

When she discovered that her hairstylist was taking faith-based courses at Kino Catechetical Institute, a Diocese of Phoenix program, Martinez de Carrillo knew she was called to attend. She began her time at “Kino” in August of 2012.

Kino Catechetical Institute, originally founded by the Carmelites in 1972 and restructured by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted in 2011, provides a key component of faith formation in the Diocese of Phoenix. With an emphasis on “catechetics” – a term that refers to passing on the teachings received from Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago – students come to understand what we believe as Catholics and why we believe it. In turn, the very lives of those who are formed through Kino become an echo of the saints, martyrs, popes, and apostles that came before them.

Attending a series of courses, in either Kino’s flagship two-year formation program, or the simplified 10-day basic formation, students of all ages, backgrounds, and stages of life study Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church under the guidance of seasoned faculty. In addition to passing on the faith, Kino also provides catechetical certification and recertification, as well as initial diaconate formation.

Since its reconstruction in 2011, Kino has formed over 1,000 lay and religious in the Diocese of Phoenix.

Martinez de Carrillo is a cradle Catholic, and although she always went to Mass, strove to do good, and believed the Catholic faith was true, she knew there was something more – and she found it through Kino Catechetical Institute.

“For me, Kino was an opening to the Heart of Jesus,” shared Martinez de Carrillo. “As I learned about Scripture and tradition, I realized that I still mess up like the people in the Bible did 2,000 years ago. But God is patient with us. He has a plan, and He wants to be in a relationship with us as we journey to heaven.

“Kino changed my life, and I am so blessed to have gone through this program.”

Not only did Kino Catechetical Institute change Martinez de Carrillo’s spiritual life, but it also changed her marriage. Having her husband proofread every paper she wrote for her classes was incredibly fruitful; it formed a beautiful environment for the couple to ask questions about the faith together. As Martinez de Carrillo studied the sacrament of marriage at Kino, she fell even more in love with her husband and her vocation to marriage and family life.


It’s fitting that Kino Catechetical Institute is named after Padre Eusebio Kino, a Jesuit missionary who himself was a geographer, explorer, cartographer, and astronomer. A reminder that, through our unique vocations and God-given gifts, each person has a role to play in the Church.

So, if Kino is a place for hairstylists, young mothers, and explorers, who else is it for?

Sara Mitchell, Kino Catechetical Institute graduating class of 2020, shared that this program is an incredible opportunity for every Catholic – lay and religious alike.

“I had classmates who were men preparing for the diaconate, school administrators, parish staff members, a CPA, a lawyer, moms, dads, grandparents, and even the father of a priest,” said Mitchell, who served as the campus minister for the Newman Center at Northern Arizona University when she began her courses.

“Each person was on their own journey of faith,” Mitchell continued. “And together we were entrusted with the faith in a new way – to be able to go back out and to bring it to all corners of our diocese.”

Kino Catechetical Institute is changing lives in the Diocese of Phoenix, and the Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) makes it all possible. Your gift to the CDA supports the hiring of passionate faculty, provides textbooks for students, and helps keep the cost of tuition affordable for all who desire to attend.

“When Catholics go through Kino, their hearts are set on fire,” said Steve Greene, Director of Kino Catechetical Institute. “They are changed, and they are excited to go out into the Church and get to work.

“Your gift to the CDA fosters their natural gifts and abilities, equipping them to become who they were created to be. In short, Kino is forming saints, and we couldn’t do that without you.”