'Young people are a priority in the Archdiocese'

The Office of Religious Education, now headed by Sr. Rosalia Meza, will focus on evangelization, youth ministry and women's leadership


Sr. Rosalia Meza is the new Senior Director for the Los Angeles Archdiocese's Office of Religious Education (ORE). She is also a member of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity (VDMF), a community that promotes education for all – especially for women.

She is an accomplished educator originally from Mexico whose family was not particularly religious or pious. Her call to religious life was because “God found me and won me over," she says.

As an educator, one of her priorities in the Archdiocese is to promote the leadership of young people through ongoing training, accompaniment and perseverance.

"I studied education in Mexico with the Jesuits. I was a director of education and I was in charge of training people and analyzing business processes. Because of that work, I traveled greatly and lived in Colombia and Brazil, and I was about to get married," says Sister Rosalia.

She tears up as she recalls how God entered her life, filled her with peace and taught her to recognize His presence in the needs of others.

"In 1997, I was very worried, because my boyfriend was very interested in getting married, but I was very confused with work and with him and did not know what I wanted. That's when God found me. It was a beautiful process, but it was shocking to discover a living God, who was approaching me and who needed me."

That year, Sister Rosalia arrived in San Francisco in search of a good English course, as she would later be pursuing a master’s degree in Canada. It was in this cosmopolitan city that she joined a group of young people who were led by the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity.

"My parents in Mexico were familiar with some religious sisters of what is now my community, because of its work with married couples. They put me in touch with a family in San Francisco," she says, while recalling her first experiences with religious life.

Involved with young people

"I spent the first phase of my religious life working with young people. I helped to provide formation focused on young people and novices," says Sister Rosalia, who helped establish a theological formation program for Hispanics within a theological institute of her community in San Francisco.

Here, pastoral leaders participated in a four-year formation program. Since then, she has continued to promote in the inclusion and training of youth in Spain, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

During her time as the Director of Religious Education at St. Anthony Church in Long Beach, she restructured the faith formation program by emphasizing the education of children and young people.

Sr. Rosalia has also taught at Loyola Marymount University, though her time there will end as she joins the Archdiocese. However, she will continue to serve out her term as Provincial of her religious community in the United States. In addition to Los Angeles, Verbum Dei is present in Sacramento, San Francisco and Chicago. ”I have a year left in this position as provincial, after that, God will decide," she says.

VIDA NUEVA: What are the three pillars of the professional leadership and formation that you promote?
Sister Rosalia: “First is the personal encounter with God, which serves as nourishment for daily life. Second is formation in the faith, and that takes time and resources. The third is the follow-up to this training, to guarantee perseverance in the process."

VN: What are your work plans in the Archdiocese?
Sister Rosalia: “I see there is a need for formation, and the challenges encountered by our catechists. But first I need to situate myself in order to figure out how to help, especially parishes and the most vulnerable groups."

VN: What are your priorities as Director for the Office of Religious Education?
Sister Rosalia: “My first priority is evangelization, to continue what has been done for the love and knowledge of God. My second goal is to strengthen archdiocesan youth ministry, since young people are a priority and we need to work hard to win them over and bring them to God. And the third is to empower women in the Church, as the founder of my community has said.”

VN: How do you value the leadership of women in the Church?
Sister Rosalia: “Religious women have always tried to respond to the needs of the times. In general, women play a fundamental role because of their maternal essence, which is a gift from God that drives them to dedicate themselves to serving others. Therefore, I will continue promoting women’s leadership. And of course, this begins in house."

VN: Do you have any words of encouragement for women?
Sister Rosalia: “God believes in us. Every woman must believe in herself and that no one can take away her dignity as a daughter of God. They must be confident with the gift of life that is given to them and of the necessity of being formed and ready.”

She is Sister Rosalia Meza, 47, a religious sister of the Verbum Dei order.
Favorite song: “Women of Faith," written by her congregation.
Favorite food: seafood and salads, “I don’t like sweets."
Her Dream: To be the best version of myself and leave a mark even in the smallest things
How she envisions the ORE: An office that is alive – grounded in the love of God and open to all. That is, an inclusive office.

Official Statement
FROM: Reverend Monsignor Albert Bahhuth, Moderator of the Curia/Vicar General
DATE: June 11, 2019

I am pleased to announce that Archbishop Gomez has appointed Sister Rosalia Meza, VDMF, as the Senior Director for the Office of Religious Education. Sr. Meza’s start date is July 1, 2019.

I am grateful to Fr. Chris Bazyouros for his service, in various positions, in the Office of Religious Education. He made sure that there was a smooth transition when he became the Senior Director. He implemented many new programs and initiatives, including the Encuentro process. He will be returning to parish ministry this July.

Sr. Meza is a member of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity. She serves as the U.S. provincial for her community. She was the Director of religious education at St. Anthony’s parish in Long Beach for many years. She holds a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. We are very blessed to have Sr. Meza as a member of our leadership team.