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
Collaboration Results in Standards for Youth Ministers
Through a collaborative effort involving professional ministry associations, diocesan offices, ministry training centers and the USCC/CCA (USCC Commission on Certification and Accreditation), a coherent foundation for ministry training/formation, employment and certification of ministers is emerging across the United States.
National organizations and associations of professional ministers, working in collaboration with diocesan and ministry formation personnel, have developed national standards that identify the core competencies requisite to those ministries. The National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry led the way nearly seven years ago when its "Competency-Based Standards for the Coordinator of Youth Ministry" were approved by the USCC/CCA. This document, which recently underwent a national review, revision and re-approval process, describes the knowledge and skills essential to the role of Youth Ministry Coordinator using these national standards as the basis for the development of curricula and learning objectives.
Diocesan offices and parishes are also using the standards to develop job descriptions, hiring processes, and policies that are congruent with these learnings and skills. Additionally, diocesan offices are beginning to use the national standards as criteria for the certification of ministers in the local church. For example, the certification process of the Office of Youth Ministry of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati evaluates youth ministers relative to the knowledge and skills described in the national standards. Cincinnati's certification process was submitted to and approved by the USCC/CCA, thereby enabling the local diocesan office to certify youth ministers in the name of the USCC. This provides Cincinnati youth ministers with a credential that is significant both locally and nationally, while simultaneously establishing a nationally recognized standard of quality for youth ministry in the archdiocese.
For more information on these developments, contact Sr. Kay Sheskaitis, IHM at the USCC/CCA: 3501 South Lake Drive, PO Box 07058, Milwaukee, WI 53207-0058; phone 414-486-0139; FAX 414-489-0006 or Sean Reynolds, Director, Office of Youth Ministry, Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
NPLC Begins Second "New Parish Ministers" Study
As part of the Leadership for Ecclesial Lay Ministry Project funded by the Lilly Endowment, a new study of ecclesial lay ministry is being conducted by the National Pastoral Life Center (NPLC) in New York. The study has been dubbed New Parish Ministers II, and is a continuation of the NPLC's 1992 study, New Parish Ministers: Laity and Religious on Parish Staffs.
A component of the new study will be a re-surveying of those parishes and ecclesial lay ministers who participated in the original study. The goal is to track changes within these groups over time, adding a longitudinal component to the cross-sectional research.
Like the original study, this one will be conducted in multiple phases. Phase I consists of a survey sent to 2,899 parishes randomly chosen from forty-three dioceses representing each of the thirteen NCCB regions of the country. The survey is designed to surface the basic composition and characteristics of American parishes as well as their staffing patterns.
Phase II will survey pastors, ecclesial lay ministers, and parishioners of parishes employing ecclesial lay ministers. The primary objective will be profiling the ecclesial ministers and evaluating their ministry. A report will be published at the end of the study.
Dr. Zoila Diaz Named Advisor to Lay Ministry Subcommittee
Bishop Phillip Straling of Reno, Chair, welcomed the appointment of Dr. Zoila Diaz as an advisor to the Lay Ministry Subcommittee. Currently the Academic Dean of St. John Vianney College Seminary, Dr. Diaz served for twelve years as the Director of the Office of Lay Ministry for the Archdiocese of Miami. In that role she coordinated the ministry formation programs that enrolled a diverse group of lay ministers, including English speakers, Spanish speakers from 22 different countries, and Haitians, some of whom speak Creole.
Dr. Diaz holds a Doctorate of Ministry from the Catholic University of America. Her dissertation studied the ecclesial lay ministry formation programs of Miami from educational, theological, and sociological perspectives with particular attention to how ecclesial lay ministers cope with the dual roles of being ministers and being lay.
From Our Tradition ...
Formation of the Lay Faithful
Formation is not the privilege of a few, but a right and duty of all. In this regard the Synod Fathers have said: "Possibilities of formation should be proposed to all, especially the poor, who can also be a source of formation for all"; and they added: "Suitable means to help each person fulfill a full, human and Christian vocation should be applied to formation."
For the purpose of a truly incisive and pastoral activity the formation of those who will form others is to be developed through appropriate courses or suitable schools. Forming those who, in turn, will be given the responsibility for the formation of the lay faithful, constitutes a basic requirement of assuring the general and widespread formation of all the lay faithful.
-Christifideles Laici, #63
Loyola Publishes Compendium of Pastoral Leadership Job Descriptions
The Loyola Pastoral Life Center at Loyola University in New Orleans has published the third edition of Emerging Forms of Pastoral Leadership. It is a large (338 pages) volume of job descriptions, role definitions, and other practical information about the various types of Catholic pastoral leadership to be found throughout the U.S. The position descriptions, definitions, policies, guidelines, contracts, application forms, and checklists were gathered from over 40 dioceses. A new feature of this edition is a concise digest of recent research and demographic trends pertaining to contemporary Catholic parish leadership. Also new are four introductory essays commenting on the new and emerging forms of pastoral leadership roles. The volume also contains a brief bibliography of readings and other related resources.
In one of the introductory essays, Dr. Peter Gilmour writes: "It would be misleading to establish a homogeneous vocabulary for what is a heterogeneous reality." The 28 different descriptions for the Pastoral Administrator make it obvious that, at present, there is no one, uniform definition. But those 28 descriptions, as well as the six for the Pastoral Coordinator and the ten grouped under the Sacramental Minister and the Priest Supervisor, make the volume a valuable resource for those preparing or revising procedures and descriptions. The handbook can be ordered from Loyola at phone: 800-777-5469; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
From Around the World . . .
Australia Plans for Future Leaders
The Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia has begun implementing a plan for leadership for tomorrow's church. The process began with consultations within the 233 parishes of the archdiocese and also involved schools, church groups, movements and organizations. 78% of the parishes cited education of the laity as the most important challenge for leadership over the next decade.
The Archbishop has asked parishes to discern, call forth and sponsor the education of parishioners who will minister on behalf of the community. The Pastoral Leadership Board, in partnership with the Association of Pastoral Associates, has responsibility to 1) further define the role of pastoral associate 2) finalize an accreditation policy outlining qualifications and experience for employment as a pastoral associate and 3) establish a set of "Conditions of Employment" for pastoral associates.
From Our Jewish & Christian Neighbors. . .
Lutherans Study Nomenclature
A recent article by Dale Griffin on the evolution of the position of Director of Christian Education (DCE) within the Lutheran Church - Missouri concludes: In view of the proliferation of . . . positions beyond the historical pastor/teacher ministerium, the Synod at this time is studying the entire matter of nomenclature concerning ‘public ministers' of the church."
It was in 1916 that a congregation in Wisconsin called the first director of education in the Synod. The profession grew rapidly after World War II and evolved to include not only teachers of children, but also youth workers and parish educators. According to Griffin, who had synodical responsibility for the directors of Christian education ministry from 1968 to 1994, one reason for the growth was the expansion of the population; another was "the change in the character, opportunities, and expectations of the pastoral office"; another was that the profession "offers women who desire to do full-time service within the Synod an opportunity to use their God-given teaching and leadership talents in important ways. Twenty-five years ago nearly all DCE's were male. Today a substantial proportion of Missouri Synod DCE's are women."
The intervening years saw the development of professional programs designed for the academic development and spiritual formation of directors of Christian education, the recognition of the office within the Synod roster, and the origin and growth of a DCE professional organization.
In 1983 a Synod convention resolution reordered the classification of all professional church positions: Ministers of Religion, Ordained (seminary graduates who are pastors, professors at synodical schools, or district or synodical officers); Ministers of Religion, Commissioned (teachers and directors of Christian education); Certified Professional Church Workers, Lay (deaconesses, directors of outreach, and "lay ministers"). Responding to the desires of those involved, subsequent synod conventions have moved deaconesses, directors of outreach, and "lay ministers" to the second category. Because of that expansion of the category, and the continued growth of such positions, the study continues.
Griffin's article, "The Birth of A Profession," can be found in the Fall ‘95 issue of Concordia Historical Quarterly, pp.133-145.