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Katie Greenwood, class of 2018 from Beloit, Kansas, is working in her home diocese and reported back about how Benedictine College and the Gregorian Fellows program has helped her to be a leader in her profession. Here is our interview.
I am editor of Faith magazine for the Diocese of Salina, Kansas, Annual Gifts and Event Coordinator.
In Faith, I write stories. I go out and meet the people of our diocese and ask them to bear witness and testimony to the ways they’ve encountered Christ. And then I share their story. It’s in telling stories that people’s emotions are captivated, and if I can write a story that encourages someone to pray for the first time, or go to Confession, or truly seek relationship with God — how perfect is that?
That’s an important position. How did you end up there?
Two weeks after graduation in May 2018, I started my first job post-college as the executive assistant to the bishop and vicar general of the Diocese of Salina. In that role, I did a variety of jobs and worked in close capacity with Bishop Gerald Vincke. My first assignment as assistant was to coordinate Bishop Vincke’s ordination and installation Mass. I served in that role for two years. In June 2020, Bishop Vincke approached me and asked me to transition roles within the chancery. He knew that I had a deep passion for writing and developing relationships with people, and there was an opportunity for me to do just that.
We talk about how the mission of Benedictine College — community, faith and scholarship — forms students to help transform culture. How have you seen that, starting with Community?
I went to Benedictine College because I fell in love with the people. I had no intention of attending Benedictine, but I decided to visit anyway. The day of my visit was the same day that Pope Francis was elected as pope. The excitement and joy of the students and faculty was so inspiring. I knew at that moment that Benedictine College would be my home.
Something that surprised me in the workforce was the importance of relationship and being authentically honesty. In a way, interpersonal skills are more important than technical skills. I had zero technical skills when I started my new job. I’m still learning AP style [rules for journalistic grammar from the Associated Press] for my magazine! But I had strong relationship and interpersonal skills. I proved through character, work ethic and honesty that I had the capacity to learn. The bishop and the development team took a risk on me; but in a way, it wasn’t a risk because they’d “seen me in action” for two years.
How about the “Faith” dimension of the mission?
The human, intellectual and spiritual formation I received at Benedictine College equipped me to go out into the world with confidence as I seek to follow God’s will for my life.
In development, I talk about the mission of our diocese. I coordinate the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, which is essentially our big fundraiser for the diocese. But development for the diocese is, in a way, evangelization. Without financial support from our lay faithful and pastors, we would be unable to afford the programs and personnel that make it possible for faith to catch fire. People fall in love with Jesus in Mass, on retreat, in the Adoration chapel, at a Catholic school, etc. The work I do provides the funding for those things. It’s beautiful to see how the financial gift of one person can allow for an opportunity for another person to encounter Christ.
Last, “Scholarship.” How helpful has your major been?
I majored in economics with a minor in theology.
I use zero economics in my job. But I use the human and relational skills I developed in college all the time. [Benedictine economists] Dr. Richard Coronado and Dr. David Harris demanded excellence and my best effort. And that’s what I deliver at work. [Benedictine theologian] Dr. Jeremy Sienkiewicz inspired big ideas and challenged me to a deeper prayer life. And that’s how I’ve modeled my own personal prayer life. Dean [of Students and Gregorian Fellows director Dr. Joseph] Wurtz encouraged me to be confident in my own abilities and lean on the support of my loved ones. And that’s why I was able to say “yes” to a new job even when I was scared out of my mind. And my friends, the people that were my “day ones” in college, they remain a huge part of my life today. I get to run with them towards Christ. Running on my own path — but still running with them.
Overall, how has the mission of Benedictine College transformed your life?
I rely on God more easily and more readily. I was still learning my faith in college. So while I loved God and relied on him, it was more of a lip service. It wasn’t inauthentic, it just wasn’t a mature reliance on God. I’m still learning my faith, still maturing, but it’s more real now. I wouldn’t be me without my faith. It’s essential to who I am as a person.
I’m also way more confident in the workforce, I don’t second guess myself. I’m not afraid to speak my mind or ask a challenging question.
But most importantly, I’ve come to learn that the person I am today and any “good” that I do is only possible because of the people around me. I could do nothing without God. Nothing without the support and trust of those around me.