Educational Ministry Volunteers – Are you Called?

Our children have returned to their classrooms, and schools are back in session. Most all of the young people I speak to are enthusiastic and excited to get back. Well, that “nine month learning season” we have returned to also applies to us here at our church. Education in our Catholic faith is a primary responsibility for all parents, and, of course, the parish church as well.

The number of our parish families has more than doubled, and the percentage of those families with school-aged children has grown considerably as well. This is the continuing growth that we have all dreamed about. Our founding Pastor, Fr. Frank Haryasz, must be smiling down with great joy. But with growth comes new responsibilities. One significant parish challenge for the past several months has been our appeal to parishioners, who are able to step forward with their applicable time and talent, to join in one (or more) of the many parish ministries, all of which are now in need in volunteers. And, as we begin this year’s Religious Education cycle, of paramount importance among our own ministry needs, is our Religious Ed program for our children, our Youth Group included.

Availability of space has always been a limiting factor for our learning programs and has had a dampening effect on having a sustained Adult Faith Education program and that had been coupled with a limitation on persons who would take on the responsibility to head-up and facilitate the programs. This past Spring, we did have two successful adult, multi-week, faith initiatives:  the Thirty Days Consecration To Mary program and the Choice Wine marriage-enhancement program. A great man parishioners, many being couples, joined together to facilitate these well-attended programs. For that, I am most grateful.

Well, along with growing our parish’s Eucharistic Adoration participation, which is already underway, another prioritized goal is to provide for more faith-based Adult Education. And, in answer to my prayers, in recent months several couples have come to me to express a willingness and desire to launch some of these programs. The main challenge right now is scheduling programs when the precious meeting/gathering space is available. We have acquired only two new meeting areas with the new church — the old chapel area and the meeting room just off the narthex/entrance area in the new church. The old building, now a hall, is available constantly, but due to the tremendous increase in students, religious education classes will end up having to meet on three nights instead of two.

The primary adult faith education program that has been constant, through all my years here, is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). While primarily intended to educate those who have expressed an interest in learning what the Catholic faith really teaches, it has always been open to any parishioners or inquirers. This instruction in the Faith, has been enhanced with the inclusion of the acclaimed video series, Symbolon,and provides for in-depth, comprehensive discussion and understanding of the faith Catholics proclaim (with each recitation of the Creed) that we believe and embrace. I repeat, once again, that all are welcome to attend these weekly classes, and we do need sponsors to accompany each of the incoming candidates on their nine-month journeys, which is an excellent way to deepen one’s understanding of the faith.

Now here is the crux of my message this week. Starting with RCIA and extending to all of the initiatives I am about to list, I am appealing to everyone to pray and discern to which one of these educational ministerial initiatives you are drawn and to which you could donate your talent and some of your time, while at the same time, increasing your knowledge of the Catholic faith.

Our Time and Talent Fair is a month away, but here are some opportunities to get a head start.
1.  RCIA – Karen Williams and Deacon Paul Testa – Six slots for either a presenter or a candidate sponsor.
2.  Children’s Religious Education – Kathleen Marie Drop – Five instruction and helper slots are available.
3.  Youth Ministry – Christy Frost – Looking for assistants and chaperones.
4.  (New) Website Team – Kathryn Christ – Ten team positions are available.
5.  (New) St. Anne’s Circle for Young Mothers – Cassie Chesser – Looking for young moms and dads.

Praying for a vibrant, caring and well-educated Catholic parish community.

I remain, yours in Him,

fr denis