CARA Study Emphasizes Spiritual Formation
The 35,000 lay men and women who will be beginning or returning to their studies in September learn more than theology and church history. According to a recent study done for the USCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ministry by the Center for Research in the Apostolate (CARA), the students spend as much as one third of their time on spiritual formation activities. These activities include theological reflection, faith sharing, shared prayer, liturgical celebrations, retreats, and days of reflection. "The report demonstrates that the programs preparing lay people for church ministry don't concentrate simply on theology and on ministerial skills," says Sister Amy Hoey, USCCB Project Administrator for Lay Ministry, "but also on the spirituality they need for such work." The 207 ministry formation program directors participating in the study reported that students grew most in their ability to articulate faith experiences, sense of community, sense of mission and discipleship, sensitivity to diverse expressions of faith and ability to reflect theologically.
Sister Amy Hoey, RSM, is available at 202-541-3001.
Campus Ministers Prepare for Largest Ever Catholic Student Population
This fall thousands of students, and more Catholics than ever, will be entering higher education nationwide. To assist Catholics in merging into a new academic world and giving back to their communities, Catholic Campus Ministers sharpened their skills at summer institutes designed to equip them with the tools needed to reach this new generation of collegians. Frank J. Lewis Institutes for Campus Ministry Orientation were held in Baltimore and San Diego (for first and second year campus ministers) and Chicago (for experienced campus ministers with more than 5 years experience). "The seminars this summer equipped campus ministers with empowerment tools to interact effectively with young adults during the academic year," said Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D., the US Catholic bishops' advisor for higher education and campus ministry. "The more we assist young adults through the transition moments of their lives, the healthier our country and churches will become."
Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D. is available at 202/541-3115.
Catholic Thought and Evolution
The subject of USCCB's Committee for Science and Human Value's next dialogue, scheduled for September 7-9, is evolution. Scientists will give presentations on the current consensus on evolution, on the ways evolution is being interpreted in modern U.S. culture (mechanistic naturalism, intelligent design, creationism, etc.) and on human origins. Father Ernan McMullin, a highly-respected historian and philosopher of science, will discuss the development and current state of Catholic thought on evolution. Through open discussion, the participants will try to elucidate how evolution on the one hand and Catholic philosophy and theology on the other are compatible. "Many people, even many Catholics, are confused about the Church's position on evolution. Some mistakenly place the Church in the creationist camp, and even those who realize the Church is 'evolution-friendly' may be hard put to explain why," said David Byers, Executive Director, Secretariat for Missions/Science and Human Values. "The bishops' September dialogue with evolutionary scientists is the first step in a process that, hopefully, will lead to a USCCB statement on evolution and the teaching of evolution."
David Byers is available at 202/541-3011.
Implementation of Diversity Message
It's been nearly a year since November 2000 when the pastoral statement: Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity was unanimously approved by the of U.S. bishops. Since then, MRS staff in the Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees (PCMR) have been organizing a comprehensive plan to implement its message. As of today, over 11,600 English and 2,400 Spanish copies of the pastoral statement were sold, and an accompanying brochure (of which almost 26,000 have already been sold in English or Spanish) will be translated into Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Portuguese and Vietnamese by the end of September. A diversity training program will be held in seven regions across the United States beginning this Fall and continuing through Summer 2003, and dioceses that participate will be eligible to apply for small grants to assist in the implementation of their action plans. "With the U.S. having become more ethnically diverse than at any other time in its history, challenges abound for our society to welcome newcomers", said Amy Newlon, Education and Development Coordinator, USCCB, Migration and Refugee Services' Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees. "With the distribution of over 22,000 resource kits this summer, we expect that the momentum of local activity emerging from the pastoral message will be even more significant."
Amy Newlon is available at 202/541-5408.