By Liz Sullivan
Simply put, Wendy Scherbart did not want to make the commute alone.
For many years, Scherbart, the Director of Catechetical Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, has commuted to work with her husband, Jon, who is a religion teacher down the road at Bellarmine College Prep, from their home in Morgan Hill. Jon Scherbart is retiring in June after 36 years of teaching and his wife has decided to join him.
Wendy Scherbart’s last day as director is June 8.
“I want to continue this journey together with him,” she said.
Scherbart has served in her current position since August, 2004, when she replaced Jeannine Leichner, who had retired. Prior to working at the Chancery, Scherbart spent 10 years as the Director of Catechetical Ministry for Saint Catherine of Alexandria and 10 years before that in the same position at Saint Patrick Parish, now Our Lady of La Vang. Scherbart, who has a Master’s degree in catechetics from Santa Clara University, began her career as an elementary teacher at Saint Patrick School.
“While we will greatly miss Wendy at the helm of Catechetics, I am pleased that she and her husband, Jon, will be able to enter retirement while in good health and with so much energy,” said Bishop Patrick J. McGrath. “I know I speak for many – including our pastors and our catechists – in giving thanks to the Lord for the gift that Wendy has been for us, for our Diocese and for the Church these many years.”
On May 9, Scherbart was awarded the Sister Maria De La Cruz Aymes, SH, Award for Excellence in Catechetical Ministry at the Saint Pius X Banquet. In her acceptance speech Scherbart described herself as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.”
“I feel like Dorothy who has walked the Yellow Brick Road and it is time for me to go home,” she said at the event. “I realize you are never alone on this journey. It is easy to do this ministry because you (the assembled catechetical ministers) are with me.”
As she prepares to leave her office, Scherbart said she has been thinking about what she and her department have accomplished over the last 13 years.
“It is gratifying because we focused on the goals we wanted to achieve and I feel we moved them forward,” she said. “Now it is time for the larger goals to be carried on by someone else. The challenges are still there and they need to be addressed. I feel I have helped to raise the awareness of our ministry.”
The Diocese recently restructured the Office for Parish Services (OPS) and renamed it the Department for Evangelization, under which the Department for Catechetical Ministry falls under. The new department is led by Father John Hurley, CSP. This new department will have a greater focus on Word, Worship and Witness, which are a guiding principle for forming disciples of Jesus Christ, changing the world and inspiring others to do the same.
“I am definitely encouraged by what is being done,” she said. “The focus is on evangelizing catechesis.”
After years of living by a schedule, Scherbart admitted she has nothing planned for her retirement; right now. Her daughter Krista is returning to the Bay Area soon after spending the last three years on the East Coast.
“I am excited for all of the possibilities that lay ahead for me,” said Scherbart.