On July 21, Chris Malmevik, the director of the Office for Catechesis, will observe her 25th anniversary at the Springfield Catholic Pastoral Center. The very next day she will begin her retirement, bidding farewell to friends in the Springfield office and in parishes throughout the diocese.
Although her titles have changed over the years, Malmevik, who is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Springfield, says she always has been responsible for faith formation and catechesis and all that they involve. It is something she understands well.
“Faith formation’s major task is to nurture a relationship with Jesus Christ which leads to a life of discipleship in the Catholic Church,” she says. “Once one is evangelized and ensconced in this relationship and nourished by the grace of the sacraments, then catechesis becomes a priority and effective.”
Working under the direction of three bishops over the last quarter century, some of Malmevik’s biggest projects that come to mind include “Faith, Family Style,” “Why Catholic?” and “Generations of Faith.” “Of course, since the synod (2017) I have been very involved with Restored Order,” she says. “At Bishop (Thomas John) Paprocki’s request, I’ve been the chair of that committee.” Additionally, she has been the ongoing chair of the Diocesan Adult Enrichment Conference (DAEC), a major undertaking that is held every other autumn for teachers, catechists and other interested individuals.
Nationally, Malmevik represented Region VII on NACARE, a committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — and was secretary for four years. She was a member of the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL) for 25 years and was chair of the 2014 national conference in St. Louis, a member of the Certification and Standards Committee, and chair of the Partners Certification Review Committee.
Even though she is retiring from full-time status in the curia, Malmevik will maintain her long-time working relationship with the University of Dayton, where she has been diocesan coordinator and a course facilitator of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF). She plans on facilitating courses this year and maybe beyond.
Every professional wishes to leave an office in good hands. That’s why Malmevik is pleased that Kyle Holtgrave, who has been leading Youth and Young Adult Ministries for many years, will be the new director of the Office for Catechesis. “Kyle is the perfect person for the job,” she says.
Malmevik is retiring a few years ahead of her husband, John Malmevik, but believes she will keep busy at home and in the community and probably visiting their three grown children and their families. She will likely have more time to follow her beloved Chicago Cubs — “I’ve been a Cub fan since I was born,” she says — and will continue annual visits to one of her favorite places, Walt Disney World in Florida.
“Beyond that, I don’t know,” she says with her characteristic calm smile. “God hasn’t shown me the direction I will be going from now on — he hasn’t yet revealed his plans for me. So, I guess we’ll see!”