Alumni Spotlights

Ed Gordon, '70: A Life Dedicated to Helping Others

January 19, 2012 by Joe Kirchmyer

Service to others and devotion to his family and faith have always been important to Ed Gordon. In fact, it's not a stretch by any means to say that his entire life has been dedicated to helping others. Even as a student at NU decades ago, it was pretty clear as to the direction in which his life was heading.

“I graduated from NU in 1970 from the School of Education with a degree in German,” says Gordon. “When I graduated from NU I was a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. At that point in my life I was looking forward to serving the church as an ordained priest. A few years later, I discerned that it wasn't my vocation. After leaving the Oblates, I became a parish director for religious education in Alexandria, Va., completed my MA at Catholic University, and for almost 40 years have been involved in catechesis at the parish, diocesan, national and international levels.”

In recognition of his devotion and dedication, he recently received the Catechetical Award given annually by the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. The award is presented for outstanding contributions to the ministry of catechesis.

“First of all, it is a great honor to be considered for an award that includes some of my mentors and teachers,” Gordon says. “It is also an affirmation for my family and coworkers who have supported and worked alongside me over these years. It is gratifying that the organization would give the award to a practitioner like myself. Most of the recipients have been from academia or publishing. My career has been spent attempting to find practical ways for people in the pews to come into a deeper relationship with Jesus and to train catechists for the new realities of the post-modern world.”

Professionally, Gordon has served nearly 29 years as secretary for Catholic education and the director of religious education for the Diocese of Wilmington, which encompasses the state of Delaware and the nine counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As secretary of the department, he has administrative responsibilities for the oversight of youth ministry, campus ministry, Catholic schools, and religious education in the diocese. As director for religious education, his office has line responsibility for the formal religious education programs for adults, youth and children in the parishes and the Catholic schools.

Gordon's Niagara experience was the foundation upon which his career has been built.

“My Niagara years were so rich and challenging,” Gordon recalls. “A few of my theology professors opened me to a whole world of inquiry I am still exploring. When we were at NU, it was the first time the Oblates were involved in activities on campus. Getting involved with the theatre programs, sports and politics helped shape my religious outlook that was broad and engaged with the world. It also helped me to have a network of friends who challenged me in many ways and were a lot of fun besides. While being a seminarian on campus was a different experience than for the other students, I think we were able to gain a tremendous amount from NU, and I hope, give a little back.”