Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What are the National Standards?

Alliance for the Certification of Lay Ecclesial Ministers logo

As lay ministry has become a much more common phenomenon in the United States (although present throughout Church History in some degree!), there have recently evolved the National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers. You can see the standards book in our suite (Saint Mary's 223), but there is a short overview here as well, which includes this:

Core Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers
These standards are for all lay ecclesial ministers, including coordinators of youth ministry/youth ministry leaders.

1.Personal and Spiritual Maturity: A lay ecclesial minister demonstrates personal and spiritual maturity in ministry with the people of God.
2.Lay Ecclesial Ministry Identity: A lay ecclesial minister identifies the call to formal and public ministry as a vocation rooted in baptism.
3.Roman Catholic Theology: A lay ecclesial minister integrates knowledge of Roman Catholic faith within ministry.
4.Pastoral Praxis: A lay ecclesial minister engages in pastoral activity that promotes evangelization, faith formation, community, and pastoral care with sensitivity to diverse situations.
5.Professional Practice: A lay ecclesial minister provides effective leadership, administration, and service, in the spirit of collaboration.
This "Spirituality for the Vineyard" program is aimed at helping you self-evaluate your place in the first set of standards (personal and spiritual maturity), and inform the second the fourth group as well.  Much of the third and fifth sections are covered in class study and field work. 

Although not all parishes or dioceses attend closely to the national standards, some do.  And all of them would look favorably on a prospective worker who has taken their formation seriously, and is able to express their formation in the terms set by the National Standards.  Although we think a self-evaluation in light of the National Standards is valuable to do in itself, there is no question: in an increasingly tight job market, being able to show employers that you are called and ready to do this work is an asset.  The point of this program is to make a simplified presentation of the National Standards, making it easy to do and easy to show. 

The next two days, we'll cover what you do to measure up to the National Standards--and you probably already do a lot of it already.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Some of the History of "Spirituality for the Vineyard"

It was a dark and stormy night....

OK, "Peanuts" references may not work nowadays.  But in truth, the theology professors--which at the time was me (Susan Windley-Daoust), Eileen Daily, Sr. Judy Schaefer, Greg Sobolewki, Ken Stenstrup, Laurie Ziliak, and Fr. Andrew Beerman--were just sitting around talking, noting that the majors seemed to be craving for more spiritual formation.  Intelletcual formation occurs in the classroom.  But if you are working for the Church, and trying to discern a vocation to the priesthood, religious life, or lay ministry, you also need spiritual formation.  We had (and have) an active Campus Ministry, but these students wanted more.  Students were asking for spiritual direction.  Students would talk about discernment in the offices or with each other.  Students would enjoy service work but wonder aloud how it all fits together.  And always students wanted to explore more possibilities for ministry than they necessarily had when they entered college.  It occurred to us: if our seminarians on campus had a strong formational component, shouldn't laypeople who work for the Church have similar opportunities to discern, grow, and learn to express what it means to have a vocation?  Don't we all need this?

At the same time, two documents became more and more important: the USCCB's document on lay ministry, "Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord," and The National Standards on Lay and Ecclesial Ministry.  Both documents focus on lay ministry as a calling in itself, and one that requires its own attention to intellectual, pastoral, spiritual, and human formation.  It doesn't look like the priesthood or religious life per se, but it looks like discipleship.  Lay people are called to be leaven in the world, to sanctify the secular order with their lives.  How could we help students be aware of that, and take on the responsibilities embedded in their calling to discipleship?

And yet again, at the same time, the idea of concept mapping as a way to organize thoughts, experiences, and consequences around a common issue was presented to us, and Prof. Laurie Ziliak realized in a "eureka moment": this is how we put the formational elements together on a visual chart.  Anyone could fill this in and assess how they are doing in terms of attention to formation--and anyone could show it to someone else and demonstrate his or her work in this area. 

After two grants and proposals, surveys, discussion, debate over a preposition, and a pizza party, we introduced: Spirituality for the Vineyard!

What we have created is meant to be a help to students (both help in encouraging discernment and formation now, and, after graduation, help in looking for ministry work), a co-curricular set of activities that supplements your intellectual formation, and an opportunity for dwelling more deeply on what is God's plan for your life. 

So what is it, exactly?  Probably a lot of things you already do...but perhaps some things you do not.  Let's start unfolding the program tomorrow.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Spirituality for the Vineyard, rebooted!

Hello everyone!  We have a lot of new majors and minors and it is time to re-introduce the Spirituality for the Vineyard program.  Let's call it a "reboot."  Expect one post per day for this week as we walk through what Spirituality for the Vineyard--as an optional co-curricular program for Theology affiliated majors and minors--is all about, and how it can help you discern and get placed in your ministry. 

  1. Some Of The History
  2. The National Standards
  3. The First Three Formative Elements
  4. The Last Two Formative Elements
  5. The National Standards Concept Map
  6. Take The Tour
  7. Great!  Now What?

Thanks for being here, and tell your friends!  You certainly don't need to be a major or minor to follow this blog by email, facebook, or twitter.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Welcome back to Spring Semester 2013!

Welcome back, Cardinals!  (get it?)

We hope everyone had a restful and blessed Christmas break.  More coming this week!