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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
January 27, 1995     The Message
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January 27, 1995

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J._ anuary 27, 1995 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 13 By SISTER LOUISE BOND focus in 1994-95 is on planning Lay leadership: Planning for the future for the immediate and long- range future. The noted theolo- gian, Karl Rahner, said that "In the new theological and practical consciousness of hu- manity, the church must plan itself and its future in a new, hitherto unrealizable way." We believe that the church has the responsibility to discern its God-given mission and min- istries and then to identify its available resources to plan its ministries to accomplish its mission• It is interesting to note that in 1989, the Assemblies of God church which has 1.3 million members announced that it was planning for twenty thou- It inaccurate to say that the sand more ministers and five Chancellor Following is a series of ques- t and answers about lay rsnlp training in the Dio- cese °f Evansville. What is the Diocese of Evansville doing to pre are lay Peo le P ._ P to assume more reSPonsibility ;_ .L__._ Parishes? - -- .,t.r This is a corn I anSWer beca:: x question to there are any people alread en a in divers ..... Y g god -  ministries at the present time. We are h ever, also 1o,1." ..... ' ow- 0rth° ., v,g co the needs " lu[,Ure. Catholic News Service CHITEK, Wit. (CNS) -- In their first Week directors of St. Boniface Pa as J0ha an, or.. rash m Chetek, ered  alrley Bayer discov- • for re".'_ `= priests have known SneeZe: :runnIng a parish is In ,. oJUO• their first 10 da s the :°e:al:e.:::ted at the'e fu- UnPack e. • We hadnt even Were dig;:Ur bags and we to fun .... g for clothes to o ..... l - • g lth a lau', Mrs. Bayer arst 10  s-. tSut after the " uays things started to e:sa_Iall int0 Place., re the first hut- s the o rlsh director team third ,°Uperior Diocese. A lIichela, y Parish director !wo oteeln,, is in charge of se. ' Parishes in thedio- Husb . . and wife team in charge of Wisconsin parish ly SAM M. LUCERO taled just over six months. In TUpa, pastor of and supervi- handles the .Uties reserved allows the Bay- all other parish great to have them ministering to the people," Father the Superior erald, the diocesan aid one of their is to train roles in the believe other more willing to after seeing =We've had who want never done .OVersees the day- of the parish, morning Com- s two days a of Christian marriage adult educa- and visiting the at nursing Their day at 8:30 a.m. ends at 9 p.m. classes or January 1994, the rectory was vacated and local priests took turns celebrating the sacra- ments. By then the diocese was preparing to hire a parish di- rector, work that had inter- ested the Bayers for 12 years• Bayer first considered full- time lay ministry after attend- ing a retreat where the short- age of priests was discussed. "When I got home Shirley and I started talking about it," Bayer said. They decided that one of them had to receive some formal training. Because Bayer was still working as an executive in a building mainte- nance company, Mrs. Bayer went back to school and earned a master's degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University in Chicago. In 1990, Bayer retired and the couple enrolled in a new lay ministry program spon- sored by the Archdiocese of Chicago. Bayer got involved in hospital and nursing home ministry while his wife did cri- sis pregnancy counseling. They were also involved in some lay ministry at other parishes be- fore they started their full-time work at St. Boniface in July 1994. At that point, they said, they "learned to appreciate the role of a pastor." The couple has been wel- comed by parishioners with food, invitations to dinner and boat rides out on the lake. "It's almost like we've been waiting for the other foot to fall and it hasn't fallen yet," said Mrs. Bayer. Albert Drost, a longtime parish member and chairman of the pastoral council, splits duties with the Bayers leading weekday Communion services. He sees the addition of full- time parish directors as a boon for parish ministries and ser- vices. He thinks the shortage of priests will leave other parishes in a similar situation as St. Boniface. But what the Bayers are doing, he said, may have a profound effect in turn- ing the situation around. "If you get the kids a little more conscious about religion, that's a good way to start them thinking" about vocations, he said. =I think John and Shirley of a" Priest short- at,t. Boniface after the pastor, 10 years, re- temporarily suc- Other priests, t;o- thousand more churches by the year 2000. By the same token, the Holy Spirit will not excuse us from the responsibility of planning for the future.. What, then, is happening at this time? Briefly, efforts are being made to prepare catechetical leaders, parish council leaders, liturgical ministers, catechists, sponsor couples, RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) Teams, visitors to the sick in hospitals and in their homes, and youth ministers. Cursillo strives to deepen persons rela- tionship with God and to help them be evangelizers in their workplace, families, neighbor- hoods, and church communi- ties. Many persons are being formed in small faith commu- nities where they are deepen- ing their relationship with God and one another• Christian Family Movement helps to strengthen family life. The St. Vincent de Paul Society en- ables participants to reach out to the poor and needy, God's special people• Teachers and principals in our schools con- tinue to develop new skills and bring the best of their gifts to our children and young people• Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfin- ger, our pastors and pastoral life coordinators, and diocesan staff are supportive of both for- mal and informal efforts being undertaken to strengthen min- istries and those who minister• The Fourth Synod of the Diocese of Evansville stressed preparation of lay leaders. What is happening with this goal? There is a task force working on a design for a lay ministry and leadership program to begin in Fall 1995. This will involve two years of special training in spirituality and leadership skills. Additional study will be required for a va- riety of specializations still to be determined. For example: The diaconate, which has not had a training program for the past 6 years will be resumed in late 1997 or early 1998. Those who sense a call to be a deacon will be required to participate in the foundation process for two years before moving into the formal deacon training. How many dioceses have lay ministry programs? In 1995, 108 dioceses and archdioceses (out of 181 in the United States) sponsor com- prehensive programs to train laity to assume special min- istry responsibilities within their parishes or church-re- lated institutions. In the state of Indiana, the Diocese of Gary has such a pro- gram; Lafayette is planning a program. All four Dioceses in Kentucky support a lay min- istry training program. If we didn't have a short- age of priests, would there be any need to train lay persons for leadership and ministry roles? If we look to the New Testa- ment, we note that persons first became disciples through bap- tism. Then, as part of the Chris- t;an community, they responded to the Holy Spirit's inspiration to build the Body of Christ by re- sponding to needs, by preaching, teaching, and governing in a Christ-like manner. Lay persons have always done ministry in the Church community; however, through a certain period of history, Catholics did not fully exercise their right to shared responsi- bility for the life of the Church because it became common practice to leave much of the responsibility to clergy and vowed religious. The Second Vatican Council brought a new awareness to Catholic Christians of their baptismal responsibility as full participants in the mission and ministry of the Church. With a more educated people of God, today's ministers need todevelop those leadership qualities expected of any per- son in a leadership position in today' society. Since our clergy and religious generally receive a good foundation for ministry, emphasis on similar training of lay persons who wish to minis- ter has become a necessity. The shortage of priests may appear to be forging this direc- tion. The point is, with or without this factor, lay persons are called to share responsibly in the Church's mission by virtue of their baptismal call. Jesus left this legacy to those who would be His disciples. What are the responsibili- ties of the People of God? All the baptized are called to proclaim the Gospel and to work for the salvation of the human family (Canons 211 and 225 #1) They are respon- sible for promoting social jus- tice and assisting the poor as well as providing for the needs of the Church (Canon 222). They are to strive for holiness and that of the entire Church (Canon 210). They are also ca- pable of assuming ecclesiasti- cal offices and functians (Canon 228) and of participat, ing in the pastoral care of a parish (Canon 517 #2). Other church canons point out that the people of God may also participate in other aspects of the Church's liturgical and ministerial life. As proposed, the lay ministry formational process might take two years of study and prepara- tion. According to a possible scenario, participants would spend 10 days in retreats or at days of prayer, 12 days attending skills workshops, 24 days reading and reflecting on specific topics, 24 evenings in small group discussion, and 12 days in classes for theology updating. Proposed topics for the process include the following: • Church in History • Scriptural Themes • Prayer and the Ways of Holiness • Sacraments oflnitiation • Contemporary Church • The Person of Jesus • Sacraments of Reconciliation, Healing and Ministry • Spirituality in Practice • Prayer and Worship • Morality • Catholic Identity and Ecumenism • Theology of Ministry • Stress and the Healthy Family i i i • Mediation Skills * Listening Skills • Anger and Conflict • Leadership Styles • Parish Pastoral Council and Parish Organization Models o Recruiting and Ongoing Support of Volunteers • Healthy Authority and Communication Patterns II r Churches in the Diocese of Evansville ,, i, ii, i With resident pastoral care, diocesan priest i With resident pastoral care, religious priest i With resident pastoral care, pastoral life coordinator With non-resident pastoral care, diocesan priest i i With non-resident pastoral care, religious priest With non-resident pastoral care, pastoral life coordinator i i i , i ' ' ,i ,i, J i 59 ' 3 2 7 i, 1 IH Total 73