Jean Marie Weber, the University liaison to the Catholic community and former educational director for the Saint Clare Center for Catholic Life, received the Called and Gifted Award from the Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry (AGPIM) in February 2016. This national honor recognizes her “integrity, scholarship, and longevity of service to the church and the AGPIM as a ministry educator,” and, specifically, her contributions toward the development of national standards for lay ecclesial ministry recognized and promulgated by the United States Catholic Bishops.


“You cannot do any of these things by yourself,” Weber said. “The award recognizes a collaborative effort and many partnerships with people throughout the country.”


Near the beginning of her long career working in Catholic organizations, Weber joined the staff of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee as the associate director in the Office for Schools and Child/Youth Ministries in 1979. In that role she began networking and learning about the wider Church and quickly discovered Wisconsin’s unique place on the national stage.


“It wasn’t until I got on that national platform through my membership and leadership in the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership that my eyes were opened to the fact that these national standards were so needed,” said Weber, mentioning how she was part of the organization for 10 years, serving in several positions on the board, including as president. “It was from that position that I learned the Church of the United States from pillar to post and from one coast to the other. I also realized the prominence of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the United States and how gifted we were in the ways. Our Bishops in Wisconsin all worked closely together.”


She mentioned that working with Archbishop Rembert Weakland helped her realize the responsibility that larger U.S. archdioceses had in sharing and developing materials, standards and procedures with the smaller dioceses that may not have as many resources.


“One of my inspirations was Archbishop Weakland,” said Weber, who worked with the archbishop for 25 years. “One of the things he would say to us is, when you do something, don’t think small. If you can do it for Milwaukee, think about how much the church at large could benefit from what you’re doing. So I learned from him because of his global mind.”

A little background on Jean Marie Weber:


Jean Marie Weber serves at Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, as the University liaison to the Catholic Community and former educational director in the Saint Clare Center for Catholic Life. She has taught pastoral ministry courses in the Religious Studies department, and administers and teaches in the Institute for Lay Ministry. She is the former director of Certification for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Commission on Certification and Accreditation (USCCB/CCA).  She also served the Archdiocese of Milwaukee as associate director, Office for Schools and Child/Youth Ministries. She has been a Catholic elementary school teacher and a parish director of religious education. She has co-authored grades one, two, and three of This is Our Faith series, the 1997, 1991, and 1988 editions, published by Silver Burdett Ginn.


She served as president, vice president, and Wisconsin Province representative with the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership. She served on the USCCB Committee on Education, the USCCB ad hoc Committee on the Implementation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the General Directory for Catechesis, directed the consultation process for the National Directory for Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and served on a number of USCCB consultative committees. She received the 2008 Vatican II Award for Service in Education from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, in 2012 completed a three year term as president of the Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry (AGPIM) and currently is a member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the lay advisory council for Archbishop Listecki.


Honoring the 50th Anniversary of Vatican Council II, October 9-15, 2012, Jean Marie attended a Seminar in Rome at the Lay Centre, devoted to the 16 Council documents and in 2007 joined the USCCB team for a Seminar on the US document Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, A resource for Developing Lay Ecclesial Ministry at the Lay Centre, in Rome.


Since 1998, she has been studying brain compatible teaching and learning through Mind Matters, Inc., Brain Research Seminars by Dr. Pat Wolfe, and focused on this topic as part of the NCEA Catechetical Scholars Program. 


Weber is completing a Doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education with a dissertation on Lay Ecclesial Ministry. She has an M.A. in religious studies from Manhattan College, New York, an M.S. in administrative leadership and supervision of education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and prior doctoral studies in religion and education from Union Theological Seminary, New York. She continues to give major presentations and workshops across the United States.