Diocesan News

Three-Year Preparation For New Lay Ministers

Above, new lay ministers in training attend formation class at a local parish. (Photo courtesy Pastoral Institute)
Above, new lay ministers in training attend formation class at a local parish. (Photo courtesy Pastoral Institute)

At two recent full-day orientation sessions, the School of Evangelization’s Pastoral Institute welcomed 75 new participants into the diocesan Lay Ministry Program.

Coming from parishes across the diocese, they are embarking on a three-year course of intellectual, spiritual, human and pastoral formation that will prepare them for service in their parishes. Fifty-four will follow the Spanish-language track, while 21 will be part of the English-language track.

The program also has close to 100 participants who are in either their second or third year of formation.

Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros addressed the new participants during a prayer service that opened the session at The Mary Louis Academy, Jamaica Estates. Picking up on the theme from the prayer service’s reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, he told participants that they have received a great gift, and they have an obligation to share that gift. Bishop Cisneros challenged participants to consider what they will do with the gift of their formation, who will they touch in their ministries and what effect they will have on their parish communities.

Theodore Musco, executive director of the School of Evangelization, urged participants to share the joy of encountering Christ and to take advantage of the programs and events that are offered in the diocese as part of their formation.

Participants will study at several sites in the diocese. Classes are being held in Spanish at St. Joseph Church, Long Island City, and St. John the Baptist, Bedford-Stuyvesant. Classes in English are being held at St. Bonaventure-St. Benedict the Moor, Jamaica, and St. Teresa of Avila, Prospect Heights.

Approximately 900 persons 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 various parish programs such as adult faith formation, ministry of consolation, pastoral care of the sick, bereavement, Scripture study, 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 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.”

For more information about the program, contact the Pastoral Institute at 718-281-9556 or pastoralinstitute@diobrook.org.