Diocesan News

New Class Prepares for Pastoral Ministry

At two recent full-day orientation sessions, the diocese’s Pastoral Institute welcomed 86 new participants for its Lay Ministry Program.

Coming from parishes across Brooklyn and Queens, they embarked on a three-year course of intellectual, spiritual, human and pastoral formation that will prepare them for service in their parishes. Thirty-nine will follow the English-language track, while 47 will prepare in Spanish. An additional 77 participants have begun the second year, and 78 have started the third year of the program.

Auxiliary Bishop Paul Sanchez spoke to the new class during the prayer service that opened the first day at the diocesan offices at 310 Prospect Park West, Park Slope.

He likened the journey that the students were beginning to a kind of “spiritual boot camp” where they would be prepared to serve their parishes through exercises that will strengthen their faith and knowledge.

Bishop Sanchez drew the participants’ attention to the point that the program did more than provide theological education. He said it would touch their hearts so that they can touch the hearts of others.

Participants will study at several sites. Classes are being held in English at Our Lady of the Angelus and Resurrection-Ascension, both in Rego Park, and at Regina Pacis, Bensonhurst. Classes in Spanish are being held at St. Teresa, Woodside, and St. Rita, East New York.

Approximately 750 persons have successfully completed the program since its inception in 2002. At the completion of their studies, participants serve as coordinators or team members for a variety of parish programs such as adult faith formation, ministry of consolation, pastoral care of the sick, bereavement, Scripture study groups, women’s and men’s spirituality, stewardship and liturgical planning. All serve as volunteers and many participate in more than one ministry.

Gerald Tortorella, director of the Pastoral Institute, explained that “these persons are to be thanked for making a major commitment of time and talent in order to serve more effectively in their parishes and to promote the new evangelization in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.”

For further information, contact Tortorella at the Pastoral Institute, 718-281-9556 or gtortorella@diobrook.org.