The Catholic East Texas interviews Angelina Estrada, the Sales and Event Manager for the St. Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization in the Diocese of Tyler

Tell us a little about you!

Hi, my name is Angelina Estrada. I am 26 years old and am originally from Delray Beach Florida. I moved to the Diocese of Tyler in 2010 when my parents purchased a property in the area. I began attending the Cathedral for RCIA, but due to some unforeseen circumstances (my aunt became a Baptist) we stopped attending. In 2013, I left for College Station to pursue a degree in Animal Science. I attended Mass only on Holy Days of obligation but never participated in the other sacraments. In 2018, my first nephew was born and I returned to Tyler to be in his life.

One day while I was at work, I was asked which church I went to on the weekends. I didn’t have an answer for this question and not being able to answer really made me reevaluate my priorities. 

I began to listen to Mass in the car as I drove to work on Sunday mornings. I would even wave the sign of peace to cars passing by during that part of Mass! One day as I was trying to pull up the Mass on my phone, it wouldn’t load. My little sister was with me at the time and she asked me why I just didn’t go to Mass in person. So I got up and drove to Our Lady Of Guadalupe where Fr. Victor was saying Mass. His homily that day reflected on making time for Christ in our lives. At that moment I heard my calling back to the Church. The next day I signed up for RCIA to complete my Sacraments of Initiation (confirmation). From there I was asked to become a catechist and I began helping with RCIY, which is the RCIA process for youth. The rest is history. 

Can you explain the things you do for the Diocese of Tyler as the Sales and Event Manager for the St. Philip Institute?

As the Sales and Event Manager for the Institute, I am tasked with following events from initial to final stages. I take care of all the background work necessary to make events possible. For example, I create graphics to promote events on social media and in our communications with the parishes. I manage event registrations, collect registration fees, prepare booklets or any handouts and packets needed for the event, and organize logistics like food and drinks. I also manage many of the details the day of the event, such as any decorations and set up and clean up for the event. Finally, in many cases, I also do follow up correspondence with those who attended our events to get feedback on their experiences. 

I do all of this for the Three to Get Married retreats, in English and Spanish, the  Catechist Conference held each summer and any other event we host throughout the year. I recently coordinated a trip to the Steubenville Lone Star Youth Conference in Irving, TX. We took 41 high school students and 10 chaperones. 

For the sales portion of my job, I am in charge of maintaining inventory of catechetical materials and assisting parishes and the laity in ordering these materials. I also maintain our online store, collect online and mailed in payments from our store and support our customers with any help they need. Ultimately, I facilitate the ordering process to allow parishes form all over the diocese and the US to use our materials. So far, the coolest order I’ve shipped was to England!  

Angelina (on the right) with other member of the St. Philip Institute Staff at a conference.

What is one thing that is most important for you in this role?

One thing that is really important to me is creating memorable events to help strengthen people’s relationships with Christ. Oftentimes our events are the first time those in attendance encounter Christ. For example when we have marriage retreats, many couples tell us that the retreat was the first time they had the opportunity to pray together as a couple. It brings me joy to know that the events and retreats I manage create that opportunity for people.

What about your work brings you the most joy?

The thing about my work that brings me the most joy is finishing an event and seeing participants come out with a restored love for Christ. This is the purpose of our events, to help our participants encounter Christ and it always brings me great joy to see this happen. 

What is something you’ve been able to accomplish in this role that you are most proud of?

I’m really proud of our online store. I spent a lot of time researching the best platforms and then building a new website for our online store. The store is now much easier for our customers to use and for me and my team to manage.

What are the next projects you’re working on for the diocese?

I’m always working on a retreat or event. For example we have another Three to Get Married retreat in September. We have two Catechist Conferences coming up in August, one in English and one in Spanish. In October we will be hosting the  Together in Holiness Conference for marriage enrichment in the diocese. I’m involved in all of these events. 

Finally, I also help other members of the St. Philip Institute team create Spanish content for the diocese. We are currently working on the Spanish Christian Initiation Catechism and a Spanish podcast. 

Do you have a favorite Scripture passage? 

My favorite Scripture passage is Wisdom 11:21-26 which says, “For great strength is always present with you; who can resist the might of your arm? Indeed, before you the whole universe is like a grain from a balance, or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth. ]But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things and you overlook sins for the sake of repentance. For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for you would not fashion what you hate. How could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you? But you spare all things, because they are yours, O Ruler and Lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things!”

I love this passage because it reminds me of how much God loves us.

Who is your favorite saint and why?

St. Maria Goretti is my favorite saint. She was a young girl from Italy who was killed in 1902. She was stabbed to death by a young man who wished to do her harm. Before she died, she forgave her attacker. I admire how much faith she had and how even at death she was forgiving.