Msgr. Michael Koch
SASKATOON – Msgr. Michael Koch, the director for Christian initiation for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, died May 10. He was 78.
Koch was diagnosed in April 2011 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or "Lou Gehrig's disease." In spite of this, he continued to be an active participant in parish and diocesan events, as well as a passionate advocate for implementing the full vision of the catechumenate in every parish.
Born in 1934 in Wilkie, Sask., Koch was the eldest of nine children. He studied physics and mathematics at the University of Saskatchewan as a student at St. Thomas More College, earning a BA in 1960.
After attending St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton, he was ordained in June 1966 in Saskatoon by Bishop Francis Klein.
After serving in several parishes in the diocese, he was the diocesan director of religious education from 1974 to 1980.
In 1974, Koch studied the sacraments of initiation at the University of San Francisco with Christiane Brusselmans of Belgium, beginning an interest and love for the catechumenate and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
He was one of 12 founding members of the North American Forum for the Catechumenate.
In 1990, he was also one of the founding members of the Western Conference for the Catechumenate, which provided formation and leadership about RCIA and the catechumenate to parishes of Western Canada.
He served as chair from 1990 to 1995, and from 2000 to the present, organizing annual gatherings to focus on different themes related to Christian initiation.
He was a contributing author to four books on the catechumenate and contributed articles on the RCIA to various Catholic newspapers and journals. He conducted RCIA workshops across Western Canada and abroad.
In recognition of his contributions and service, Koch was awarded the title of monsignor in April 2012.