The Heart of Who We Are and What We Do

Thirteen leaders in the Ministry Formation Program (four of whom are starting the program) gathered virtually for Ministry Formation Session III during the weekend of Oct. 22-23. This session explored JPIC, Catholic identity and Catholic social teaching.

On Friday afternoon, Sister Arlene Flaherty, OP (Director, JPIC) explored JPIC, noting that JPIC is grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the two feet of charity and social justice and the evolving consciousness of human person. The afternoon concluded with a panel conversation with three great women leaders: Cary Rositas-Sheftel (Board Member, Corazón a Corazón), Anne Henderson (Political Science/History Dept. Chair, Notre Dame of Maryland University) and Carol Fay (Religion Dept. Chair, Academy of the Holy Angels).

Leaders explored what skills they bring to their respective roles and places of ministry. Cary created an image of a heart (above) to visualize the diverse skills of the leaders. Anne emphasized that leadership is about meeting people where they are at and people won’t know what it means to be a leader until they go out and be one. Carol told a story and invited the participants to reflect on how they see themselves as a leader – as one laying bricks, building a wall, or building a cathedral.

Saturday morning featured presentations by Yvonne DeBruin (Director, Ministry Services) and Patrick Laorden (Associate Director). Drawing inspiration from Thomas Groome’s book, What Makes us Catholic: Eight Gifts for Life, Yvonne highlighted characteristics of Catholic identity, in particular: affirmation of the human person. Leaders were invited to think about the mission of their places of ministry and how their ministries affirmed the human person.  Patrick connected the themes of Catholic social teaching to the SSND ministry of enabling persons, creating in God’s image, to reach the fullness of their potential through education.

At the closing of Session III, four leaders were recognized for finishing the Ministry Formation Program: Lynn Selby (Executive Director, Caroline Center), Lisa Benson (Board Chair, Caroline Center), Laura Lang (Development Director, AMSSND) and Patrick Laorden. Sister Missy Gugerty, SSND, a mentor present, provided some words of encouragement and the graduates had an opportunity to share some thoughts on their journey. Looking back on the session, one leader commented on their experience of Session III, “This was a very positive, inspiring experience for me. I enjoyed the presentations, videos, reflections, prayers, breakout groups and interaction. It works well online.”

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