It's Back to School for Lay Ministry Students
In August, approximately 30,000 students will be returning to school to prepare for lay ministry in the church. They are enrolled in the close to 300 academic and diocesan programs around the country. "Those who complete the programs will earn a certificate, an undergraduate or graduate degree as part of their preparation to join the more than 35,000 lay men and women who are already ministering within the church," says Mercy Sister Amy Hoey, Coordinator of the U.S. Bishops' Project on Lay Ecclesial Ministry. According to data complied by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, for 1998-99, 58 percent of lay ministry candidates are lay women, while 31 percent are lay men. Thirty-five percent are between the ages of 40-49. Hispanic/Latinos, African Americans, Asians, and Native Americans make up 29 percent of lay ministry candidates.
Sister Amy Hoey can be reached at 202-541-3001.
Valuable Advice to College Students -- Especially Freshment
Hundreds of thousands of college students begin to fill campuses during the end of August. Sister Lourdes Sheehan, Secretary for the U.S. Bishops' Department of Education, offers some suggestions to students -- especially freshmen. "Students need to challenge themselves to find out about student organizations and clubs on campus and getting involved. Classes are important, but so is 'out of the classroom' learning. Volunteering with service organizations and getting involved breeds confidence," she said. Sister Sheehan encourages students to seek out a faith community on campus, whether it be a formal campus ministry or just a few friends. She also advises, "keep life balanced, seek out new friends and not be consumed by the 'almighty dollar.' She also reminds students "to stay in touch with family."
Sister Lourdes Sheehan can be reached at 202-541-3130.
Refugee Admissions to the United States Dwindle
The international community recently assisted with the evacuation and resettlement of Kosovar refugees, helping to stabilize a potential refugee crisis in the Balkans. "With 13.5 million refugees globally, however, the United States has begun abdicating its responsibility and leadership in global refugee protection," says Kevin Appleby, Director of Migration and Refugee Policy for the United States Catholic Conference. Refugee admissions to the United States has dropped from 132,000 in 1992 to 78,000 last year, over 40 percent.
Kevin Appleby can be reached at 202-541-3260.