Mature faith calls forth ministry to adult church
By Brain Fuchser
The Catholic Voice
Ministers for an "adult church" must have an explicit and fruitful "adult faith," Jane Regan, keynote speaker, told about 300 lay ministers Oct 9 at the 3rd Annual Ministers Formation Day.
"When we talk about adult church, we talk about a corporate church, as in the body of Christ," said Regan, a member of the theology faculty at Boston College. "This involves self-awareness as proclaiming the reign of God."
As members of an adult church, Regan said ministers must live with "a faith that is alive, that's growing and changing like any living organism.
"It adapts to the world around it by understanding its place in the world," she said. "It's also an explicit faith. You've got to have some content there."
Mature adult faith is rooted in baptism and leads one to ministry in service to the church, Regan said.
"Our ministry is rooted in our baptism. We all share in a common call to holiness," she said. That notion is at the "heart of our ministry."
The faith that begins in baptism matures as people live as "apprentices to Jesus Christ," Regan said. People do that both explicitly as mentors, and implicitly as models, she said.
"Our effort as ministers is only there as we pay attention to ourselves as apprentices of Jesus," Regan said. "It is the presence of the Spirit in our lives that allows us to be ministers."
The formation day began with a prayer service featuring music by the Freedom Choir from Sacred Heart Parish in Omaha.
During the service, attendees received a card featuring the name of a specific minister or office of ministry within the archdiocese and were asked to pray for them.
In addition to the keynote, the day, held at St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Omaha, included 30 workshops featuring nationally known speakers from around the country.
Jim Corr, director of the Office of Religious Formation, said the formation day was held "primarily to provide continuing faith formation for all the persons in the diocese, but also to provide skill development and continuing formation for specific types of ministers."
"There's something for everybody," he said. "This conference is a great collaboration between diocesan agencies. I don't know of any other diocese that has an all-ministries conference."