Newsletter for U.S. Bishops Sponsored
by the NCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ministry
|This newsletter is developed by the NCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ministry. The purpose of this newsletter is to highlight lay ministry trends, resources, models, and other key information that may be helpful to the U.S. Bishops. Please forward suggestions and comments to:
NCCB Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women, and Youth
3211 4th Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194
Institutes in Native American Ministry Planned
Two institutes in native American ministry will be sponsored by the National Tekawitha Conference this summer at the Sioux Spiritual Center in Plainview, South Dakota. The first, designed for personnel beginning work in native American ministry is from June 19 until June 28. The forty hours of classwork will include such topics as missiology, anthropology, liturgy, catechetics, collaborative ministry, native culture and religion, and principles of recovery using AA. The institute will take place in a Lakota setting, but will use basic principles of inculturation that can be used in approaching any culture.
The second institute, designed for Native lay ministers and catechists is from July 8 until July 13. The 25 hours of class work will cover such topics as catechetics, sacraments, introduction to Scripture, and an introduction to moral theology. The workshop will be conducted in a spiritual atmosphere with emphasis on prayer and Catholic Native spirituality.
Space at both institutes is limited. Registration information is available from Rev. Stephen Mitten, SJ, Sioux Spiritual Center, 605-985-5906
Eighty-two Readers Respond to Survey
Lay Ministry Update is read by those who receive it (only four said that they rarely read it) and the newsletter is also read by more than those who receive it. Of the 46 bishops and 36 others who responded to the recent survey, two-thirds reported that they route the newsletter to other offices, in some cases to several offices. A few others commented that, although they do not route it to others, they use it in their teaching and other work.
Articles about lay ministry trends, resources, and models have been the most helpful to the greatest number of readers, followed by those about subcommittee activities. Several respondents approved of the concise nature of the articles and there were several suggestions for improving the newsletter, although most respondents recommended that it stay pretty much as it has been for its first four years. We are grateful to all those who responded and welcome suggestions at any time.
Youth Ministry Directors Studied by CARA for NFCYM
"Diocesan Youth Ministry Directors 2000: A National Portrait" is the title given to a study recently conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) for the National Federation of Youth Ministers (NFCYM) The study reports that on average diocesan youth ministry directors have been in professional youth ministry for more than twelve years and in diocesan work for eight years. They have served as diocesan director for an average of six years. The average diocesan director is 43 years old, male, married with children. About 80% of the diocesan directors have a master's degree and 4% have doctorates, The great majority of directors feel that they will be working in youth ministry five years from now and nearly half feel they will do so their entire career.
Overwork and work-related stress are the two most significant issues faced by directors in their work. Deterrents to lifelong ministry include burnout, desire to do other things in life or other forms of ministry, and the perception that youth ministry is not valued by Church leaders. Diocesan directors feel more supported by their bishops (92%) than by pastors (74%).
The average salary is $34,337 for lay directors with a range from $9,200 to $60,000. Over 90% have retirement plans, 80% have individual health plans, 72% have disability or life insurance plans, and 70% have professional development allowances.
Diocesan directors spend the largest percent of their time planning youth rallies and conferences, resourcing parishes, and providing adult training. Adult leadership training will continue to be a major concern in the next three years as well as networking with parish coordinators of youth ministry, recruiting qualified candidates for parish positions, and providing youth leadership training. Diocesan directors see themselves as facilitators of collaboration, as animators of others, and as advocates for youth ministry in the diocese.
The study also reports that there are 12,000 parish youth ministry coordinators, of whom 6,000 are volunteer, about 3,300 are paid full time, and 2,300 are paid part time. The salary average is $21,200 with a range from $6,500 to $65,000. One in three dioceses requires standard qualifications for parish coordinators of youth ministry and one in four dioceses requires the completion of a certification process. Similar requirements hold for volunteer coordinators in one of six dioceses.
CARA also reported that the NFCYM has the highest "member approval" rating of any national Church organization that it has studied.
Further information from National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, 202-636-3825
From Our Tradition . . .
Collaboration of the Laity Is Becoming More and More Indispensable
In order to meet the contemporary demands of evangelization, the collaboration of the laity is becoming more and more indispensable. This is not only a practical need occasioned by a reduction in religious personnel, but it is a new, unprecedented opportunity that God is offering us. Our era could in some ways be called the era of the laity. Therefore, be open to lay people's contribution. Help them to understand the spiritual motives for the service they render with you, so that they will be the "salt" that gives life its Christian flavour, and the "light" that shines in the darkness of indifference and selfishness. As lay people faithful to their own identity, they are called to give a Christian inspiration to the temporal order by actively and effectively transforming society according to the spirit of the Gospel.
Pope John Paul II, Address to the Oblates of St. Joseph, February 17, 2000, L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition, 8 March 2000, p. 6
From Our Jewish & Christian Neighbors. . .
Para-Rabbis Serve Reform Jewish Congregations
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Central Conference of American Rabbis jointly sponsor a program of studies to prepare para-rabbis for service in their congregations. Lay students must be recommended by a sponsoring rabbi or a regional director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Para-rabbis are authorized to officiate at Sabbath and holiday religious services, ritual circumcisions, funerals, and bar/bat mitzvahs. According to Jenny Broh of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, para- rabbis serve congregations were there is no full time rabbi, but they also serve in large congregations where the rabbi alone cannot meet the needs of the congregation. In her own congregation, the para-rabbi leads the Saturday study group when the rabbi is officiating at a bar/bat mitzvah
Ms. Broh said that the para-rabbis are probably not as accepted as the rabbi, but they are particularly welcomed in times of need. About half of the para-rabbis are women and a goodly number of all para-rabbis are "Jews by choice."
Rabbi A. James Rudin, the national interreligious affairs director of the American Jewish Committee, has observed that this arrangement is a throwback to a much earlier time in Jewish history when rabbis were often sandal-makers, blacksmiths, carpenters or farmers in addition to mediating community disputes and teaching the Bible and Talmud.
From Around the World . . .
Lay Woman Appointed National Youth Director for Jamaica
Three dioceses in Jamaica, West Indies, (Kingston, Mandeville, and Montego Bay) have jointly appointed Lisa Hamilton as the first National Youth Director for Jamaica. Ms. Hamilton received her BA degree from St. Michael's Seminary in Kingston and holds a post graduate diploma in Social Work from the University of the West Indies. She served as Lay Pastoral Coordinator for the island of Nevis, which includes the parish of St. Theresa and two mission churches. In May, Ms Hamilton will receive a Master of Arts degree in Word and Worship from the Washington Theological Union. Her study there was arranged and sponsored by Bishop Charles Dufour of Montego Bay.
Before she begins her new ministry, Ms. Hamilton will be hosted by the Redemptorist community in St. Lucia for a three-month internship under the direction of Brother Jeffrey Rolle C.Ss.R. who is an expert in youth ministry in the Caribbean context. Ms. Hamilton began her ministry as a high school teacher where she says, "I saw the struggles of young people, and also knew I had a gift for working with them." Her role as National Youth Director will be to help churches start youth programs, identify and coordinate resources for training youth leaders, orient ordained ministers to working with youth, and develop various programs for youth. Ms. Hamilton commented: "This is something I have always wanted to do. Lay leadership is essential to the church in Jamaica. We have very few priests and it is important that everybody be equipped in some way to serve the community. Working with youth is a good way to begin."