In order to appreciate the Senate of Religious Educators, it is important to look at its history. As a result of Vatican II, religious education entered a new phase of growth and development. With added emphasis on religious education, parishes began hiring leaders to direct their programs. These leaders were given the title Director of Religious Education (DRE). Around 1973, the Archdiocese had a core group of DREs ministering in its parishes.
As the number of DREs grew, these leaders felt the need to come together to form a professional association. The association was given the name Association of Religious Educators (ARE), with bylaws and officers. Its members were seeking personal growth and development, as well as a support system and a place to share ideas and concerns. They received encouragement and support from the diocesan office, and, together, became a strong force for the catechetical ministry.
In the early 1980s, the association began to feel it was no longer meeting the needs of its members and was dissolved. In the years following, the diocesan office attempted to meet the needs of the DREs through regular meetings and close collaboration. However, by 1989, it became evident that an association was once again needed.
With the help and encouragement of the diocesan office, a new organization was formed under the title of Senate of Religious Educators. The association was less structured and focused on sharing successes and failures, concerns, dreams, and vision for an ever-changing ministry.
Today, the Senate of Religious Educators continues to be a voice for those involved in the ministry of catechesis, especially those in administrative positions who hold a variety of titles. It continues to be an active voice for the support and professional development of catechetical leaders, life-long formation, and mutual support and encouragement.