All posts tagged: ministry

Where Does the Ministry End and the Apostolate Begin?

Words Matter The words that we use connect to concepts, which, in turn, connect to the way we live our lives.[1] So, it is important to have clear and correct understanding of our words in order to promote right living. With all this in mind, I would like to explore two terms—ministry and apostolate—that we frequently encounter while working for the Church and how our understanding of these terms has pervasive effects on the work we do. For example, think of how we use 3D glasses. One can attempt to watch a 3D movie without 3D glasses, and the images will be blurry. One may, more or less, be able to make the images out, and even follow the movie, but clarity and detail will be lacking, critical elements may be missed, and the overall experience of the movie will be subpar. However, upon putting on the glasses the images become crystal-clear and show up in three-dimensional relief, and one will have a much better chance at experiencing the movie as intended. Just so, a …

Embracing Parish Life: Step 4—Getting Involved

Editors’ Note: This is the final article in a series that seeks to make parish life more accessible to Catholic young adults. To learn more, see: Embracing Parish Life: Step 1—Choosing a Parish, Embracing Parish Life: Step 2—Registering at a Parish, and Embracing Parish Life: Step 3—Tithing. In thinking about writing this series for young adults on embracing parish life, I began by informally surveying young adult Catholics in my social networks. The 85 people who responded to my Google survey represent an atypical sampling of Millennials (my social networks are exceptionally Catholic-y): 80% attend Mass at least weekly, 80% are registered at their parishes, and 83.5% donate to their parishes at least occasionally. And, yet, only 55.3% of these respondents can definitively say that they feel like they are part of their parish communities. We go to Mass, we’re registered, we donate, but we don’t feel like we belong. What are we missing? In reviewing my [not particularly scientific] data, I found it interesting to look at the differences between those who are involved in their …

The Art and Science of Ministry

Ministry is an art and a science; it’s both at the same time. The minister may be called to shift from one to the other seamlessly, as a dancer moves from foot to foot. In a parish setting, which is where I carry out my role in the ministry of pastoral care, the movement between the two is so swift it’s dizzying. The particularities in the care of each person call on the minister to embrace the art and science of ministry and put the two into practice concurrently. Ministry is an Art. The art of ministry is like how we’ve come to think of an encounter with a painting or lovely hymns—ministry flows out of the heart and employs the gut. As we think about artists, ministers trust their instincts, hone inborn talents, and embrace uninhibited creativity. To accompany someone spiritually, what is needed is a minister who has a personal relationship with Christ, a compassionate heart, the patience to listen, and confidence in the power of prayer. The single requirement is, very simply, …

A Light on the Unknown Way: On Being Mentored

On August 14, 2015 at 9:00 am, I found myself at my Echo parish placement. Even though I had studied ministry as an undergrad and interned at a parish before, I was scared out of my mind to be at Christ the Redeemer. My fear came from not knowing what to expect—the unknown. I was a sojourner in a foreign land. Echo had placed me in Houston, Texas to work at a parish I had never heard of in an area where I had never been. Would I find a place here at this new parish with 6,500 families? Would I be ordered around to make copies and coffee, or would my gifts and talents be used well? Would my coworkers like me? Would I be able to find my way around? As a part of my commitment to Echo, I also had signed up to be mentored by a veteran catechetical leader. In addition to being unsure of the entire parish of Christ the Redeemer, I was apprehensive about my Echo commitment to be …