By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
The Diocese of Davenport has hired John Valenti as its new coordinator of Religious Education and Lifelong Faith Formation. He will begin transitioning into the position June 1. The appointment comes in the wake of diocesan Faith Formation director Mary Wieser’s upcoming retirement.
“I am overjoyed to be offered an opportunity to serve the Catholic Diocese of Davenport,” Valenti said. “Bishop (Martin) Amos was very gracious in my interview and the chancery staff was welcoming, warm and delightful. It is a humbling experience to accept this challenge.”
He said there are “many good Catholic people in Iowa” and he looks forward to embarking on this adventure with them.
Valenti previously served as pastoral minister for Adult Faith Formation for All Saints Parish in St. Peters, Mo.; director of Religious Education for Incarnate Word in Chesterfield, Mo.; director of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis; and diocesan director of Religious Education for the Diocese of Jackson. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Theology and Religious Education from St. Louis University in 1995. Additionally, Valenti has submitted writings to a number of Catholic publications. He considers himself a goal-oriented and accomplished staff support person with extensive religious education and lifelong faith formation experience.
Char Maaske, chief financial officer for the Diocese of Davenport, said Valenti was selected from among 18 applicants.
Valenti said his initial goals will be to visit with staff, pastors and faith formation leaders and listen to their needs. He hopes to help each parish highlight opportunities for lifelong faith formation. He also hopes to emphasize the idea of missionary discipleship.
Don Boucher, diocesan coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, will lead the Faith Formation department upon Wieser’s retirement. He believes Valenti will be a great addition to the staff. “In the interview process, I got the sense that he has a passion for this work and is extremely dedicated to lay ecclesial ministry. … I found him to be very excited about the possibility of coming here and he has the experience and credentials we are looking for.”
Wieser, too, is encouraged by Valenti’s enthusiasm and skill set, having worked with him previously at a national Chief Administrators of Catholic Education conference. “I’m delighted he’s coming to the Diocese of Davenport. He has a wealth of experience. He is a diligent, faith-filled lay minister.”