Janine Applegate
Janine Applegate
Janine Applegate, one of the longest serving Catholic catechists in Oregon history, will retire at month’s end from her post as faith formation leader at Holy Rosary Parish in Northeast Portland.

A Mass and reception are set for May 31 in appreciation for her service to the parish since 1997. Before coming to Holy Rosary, she served in religious education at St. Pius X, St. Clare and St. Patrick parishes. All told, she has been a catechist in the Portland area for almost five decades.

Cantores in Ecclesia will sing Rheinberger's Cantus Missa for the Feast of the Queenship of Mary at 7 p.m. that day. All are invited.

“Christ is not a domesticated house cat; he is a tiger,” Applegate said in an interview. “Our church is exciting, and people need to recover in their own lives the thrill of it.”

Applegate told the Sentinel in 2020 that she teaches a story that is ancient yet ever new.

“Every time I tell it I learn something. I can keep correcting my assumptions and am always pulled back to the center, to Jesus,” she said.

She grew up Protestant in Seattle then married Dean Applegate, set to become a Baptist minister but then attracted to Catholicism while studying at Oxford. Both converted, eventually.

The ability to connect people with the church’s wisdom at different stages in their lives — for baptisms, confirmation, marriages — has “allowed me to have a wholistic view of the Catholic Church,” Janine Applegate said.

Ahead of the curve when it comes to synodality, she pays heed to the reasons people discard the faith or feel angry at the church.

It’s hard for catechists to know how their instruction has shaped the lives of their students. “Sometimes there are glimmers, but not usually,” Applegate told the Sentinel. “However, time after time in my own life I’ve learned that the seeds planted may not take root on your time table, but they are there.”