Pastoral Institute Welcomes New Participants

New members take part in small group discussions at the Pastoral Institute’s second Orientation Day for the Lay Ministry Program held at Holy Name of Jesus parish in Park Slope.

At two recent full-day orientation sessions, the Pastoral Institute welcomed 80 new participants for its Lay Ministry Program.

Coming from parishes across the diocese, 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 Spanish-language track while 41 will be part of the English-language track. An additional 88 participants have begun the second year, and 57 have started the third year of the lay formation program.

Sister Angela Gannon, C.S.J., the diocesan Secretary for Catholic Education and Formation, spoke to the new participants during the prayer service that opened the first day held at The Mary Louis Academy, Jamaica Estates.

She reminded them that each person has been given gifts from God that are for use in the wider community for building up the Body of Christ. The vocation of the laity, which is rooted in baptism, comes with the responsibility to continue the mission of Jesus.

Jesus’ Model of Service

Sister Angela went on to say that the leadership formation they will receive over the course of the three years is based on Jesus’ model of service.

Participants will study at several sites in the diocese. Classes are being held in English and Spanish at St. Thomas the Apostle, Woodhaven, and the Jesus of Nazareth Diocesan Retreat Center in East Flatbush.

Classes in Spanish also are being held at Our Lady of Fatima, East Elmhurst, and in English at Christ the King, Springfield Gardens.

Seven hundred people have successfully fulfilled the requirements of 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 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 diocese’s Pastoral Institute, said, “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.”