Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


God’s Path Led New Young Adult Minister To Atlanta

By ERIKA ANDERSON, Staff Writer | Published marzo 9, 2006  | Available In English

A self-described “military brat,” Dorothy Polchinski moved many times as a child, but the path God created for her has led her to Atlanta.

Polchinski, 34, began her new role as archdiocesan director of young adult ministry in mid-February and has brought with her an extensive background in ministry and an enthusiasm for her faith.

Polchinski spent much of her life in Texas, earning a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas A&M University. This January Polchinski earned a master’s degree in theology and Christian ministry and catechetics specialization from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.

During her time at Franciscan University, Polchinski was able to study in Rome, where she further deepened her faith.

“I loved being so close to St. Peter’s and being able to go there for daily Mass,” she said. “It was amazing to be so in touch with the universal church.”

Also while at Steubenville, Polchinski served as the graduate student coordinator where she trained the orientation team and implemented graduate and non-traditional orientation sessions. She also planned, organized and developed various activities, including retreats and an end-of-the-year formal and initiated and led a new evangelization endeavor to California.

But her ministry experience all began in 1995, when, after a new awakening of her faith, she felt called to serve as a missionary for the National Evangelization Team. As a NET member, Polchinski traveled around the country planning and leading over 70 retreats for young people.

“NET was an incredible experience and really laid a foundation for me and the way I felt called to serve the church,” she said, adding that the experience taught her a lot of “technical skills,” such as public speaking and relating to teenagers. “But also, the first three weeks of training focused on our own personal relationship with Christ. … We had daily Mass, and there were priests everywhere for reconciliation. It was like a spiritual boot camp.”

Polchinski stayed on with NET until 2001 as its director of recruiting in St. Paul, Minn. From there she went on to serve for two years as the director of the confirmation program at Sacred Heart Church in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., while also teaching in Los Angeles archdiocesan and public schools.

Polchinski heard about the Atlanta YAM position through friends at Steubenville and was excited about the possibility of serving the vibrant community of Atlanta young adults.

“Within Catholic circles, Atlanta is known for having a strong young adult community,” she said.

Deacon Lloyd Sutter, the administrator for the Department of Religious Education and Faith Formation for the archdiocese, said that Polchinski will be responsible for maintaining the existing YAM programs, such as the popular Theology on Tap and the Lenten program, Holy Grounds, as well as new initiatives including “assisting young adults to increase the number of archdiocesan parishes with active YAM groups and to increase the memberships in those already established,” Deacon Sutter said.

Polchinski said she is “excited to serve the young adults of Atlanta.”

“There is a lot of potential here, and I’m excited to get some of the programs that people have asked for up and running,” she said. “At this point I am just wanting to get to know the people and the archdiocese.”

As she begins her new service in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Polchinski is confident that she is not alone.

“God has really guided me on this path and shown me that this is a perfect fit.”