12 students in spiritual direction formation

Published: October 20, 2023

After a seven-year absence, the Diocese of Little Rock resumed its School of Spiritual Direction this fall. Twelve students from parishes across Arkansas began taking bilingual classes in September at St. John Catholic Center in Little Rock. The weekend classes will be offered monthly through May as part of the three-year program.

Father Daniel Velasco, pastor of Our Lady of the Holy Souls Church in Little Rock, was named director of spiritual direction formation in July 2022. According to Arkansas Catholic, he said the purpose of this program is to help people “grow their relationship with God so that they can be companions for people who want to deepen their life of prayer.”

He said the 12 students are a mix of laypeople and clergy, with eight English-speakers and four Spanish-speakers. They are:

  • Yolanda Berumen, St. Joseph Church, Conway
  • Lupita Alvarez, St. Edward Church, Little Rock
  • Taffy Council, Our Lady of Fatima Church, Benton
  • Deacon Sergio Aguilar, St. Vincent de Paul Church, Rogers
  • Deacon Fabio Cruz, St. Vincent de Paul Church, Rogers  
  • Deacon Lawrence Fox, St. John Church, Russellville       
  • Deacon Charlie Kuehl, Immaculate Conception Church, Fort Smith    
  • Deacon Joe Lukacs, Christ the King Church, Little Rock  
  • Deacon Angelo Volpi, Christ the King Church, Little Rock  
  • Ann Miskin, Christ the King Church, Little Rock                                              
  • Nancy Unverferth, St. Joseph Church, Conway                                 
  • Molly Walchuk, St. Joseph Church, Conway

The first class would graduate in 2026. But new students wouldn't have to wait until then to apply. New students can be accepted each year joining class with existing students, according to Arkansas Catholic.

The School of Spiritual Direction is divided into three academic cycles: A, B and C. At the end of cycle C, the coursework returns to cycle A so all students will have attended the same classes by the time they graduate, regardless of when they entered the program. Each cycle consists of both academic courses and prayer themes. 

Upon graduation, students will receive a certificate of completion to work in their communities to help guide their fellow parishioners on their faith journeys.

For more information, read Arkansas Catholic or contact Father Velasco at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Church in Little Rock.