Sister Connie Koch, OP (Hope), has been appointed chaplain to the Westchester County Department of Public Safety and the Westchester County Police Force by Chief George Longworth, Commissioner of Public Safety for the county. She previously served for 19 years as chaplain to the police and fire departments of Dobbs Ferry in Westchester, where Longworth was then Police Chief.
Commenting on her work as chaplain, Connie says, “I am ‘on call’ whenever needed. At times it means assisting with a youth or family in crisis, marching in a parade, or responding on the scene of a fire in the village. Being with either department for the wake and funeral services of a member or a member’s family member is a privilege and a duty.”
Connie currently ministers as pastoral assistant for Faith Formation at Holy Family Parish in New Rochelle, New York. She also serves as co-promoter of preaching for the Dominican Sisters of Hope, and she has been the co-coordinator of We Proclaim: A Preaching Institute at the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center in Ossining, New York.
For Connie, the call to preach was born within her well before she became a Dominican. As a college student and young adult, Connie was involved with TEC: Teens Encounter Christ, a recognized movement of the Roman Catholic Church, offering to youth and young adults an experience of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. Through evangelization and catechesis, this intergenerational movement facilitates spiritual growth of youth and young adults with a community of adult mentors. As Connie’s involvement in TEC in New York and at the National level grew, she found herself engaged with TEC at WestPoint, New York, preaching at REC’s, an offshoot of the TEC program for incarcerated adults, and later refining her preaching skills at The Aquinas Institute for Preaching in St. Louis, Missouri. Sister Connie takes seriously St. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, to “proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient.”
Sister Connie is also one of the contributing writers of “Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary,” edited by David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor and published by Westminster John Knox Press. The 12th and final volume of this series has just been released; the series covers the scripture readings for all the Sundays in the three-year lectionary cycle, along with moveable occasions.
In closing, Sister Connie reflects: “Through the years in pastoral and public service, I have discovered that hope is a gift from God to be received and shared. Every day is an opportunity to serve God’s people and discover the hope to which we have been called!”
Story and photos submitted by Dominican Sisters of Hope