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October 6, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
 
Bishop explains schools, identity:
'For a Christ-centered education'

 
What makes Sister Julia run?
Capital Campaign supports
religious education, formation
 

Parish leaders from the Diocese of Oakland attended the Amazing Parishes conference this summer.
Courtesy photo

Faith formation touches all people in the Diocese of Oakland, from children preparing for First Communion, to teenagers in confirmation class, to adults who gather to study.

At least 50,000 people participate in some level of faith formation in the diocese. In keeping with Pope Francis' call to form missionary disciples, the diocesan Department for Evangelization and Catechesis is exploring ways it might better serve the parishes.

Margaret Turek, a professor at St. Patrick's Seminary & University in Menlo Park, joined the Diocese of Oakland in July to direct these efforts. She has been visiting parishes — at least 15 so far, with more on her calendar — to listen to their faith formation needs.

 


Capital Campaign
helps Religious
Education Training

This is the third in a series of stories illustrating the ministries and missions of the Diocese of Oakland that will benefit from the Reclaiming Christ's Mission Together Capital Campaign. The campaign, which has a goal of $65 million, has started in about half of the parishes this year, with the rest joining in 2015. Featured here is the religious education leadership training, conducted by the diocesan Department for Evangelization and Catechesis.
 
From these conversations, a new plan will be crafted for providing support to parishes and deaneries to help them with these efforts.

"We are reshaping the mission of the department to meet the pastoral needs of the parishes and deaneries, needs we've heard voiced," Turek said.

The capital campaign — Reclaiming Christ's Mission Together — will provide $1.5 million toward religious education leadership training, which takes many forms in the diocese today.

At the St. Francis de Sales School for Pastoral Ministry, for example, two new courses — Christian spirituality and theology and mission of the laity — are being added to the three-year curriculum.

The school, which is conducted at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Berkeley one Saturday a month, provides an opportunity for participants to not only learn more about their faith, but how to share their faith with others. There are courses for Spanish-speakers as well as English-speakers.

Many of the graduates go on to leadership roles in their parishes, said Mary Ann Wiesinger, associate director of the Department for Evangelization and Catechesis. Many are active in faith formation in their home parishes, and many go on to direct ministries.

One example would be at St. Michael Parish in Livermore, where School for Pastoral Ministry graduates Julie and Scott Genung, who coordinate the monthly Covenant of Love Date Nights at the parish. They get speakers for the events — and babysitters on site — to give couples the opportunity to focus on their marriage.

A new class is forming in January at the St. Francis de Sales School for Pastoral Ministry. Applications are available online at www.oakdiocese.org/spm.

Catechists — integral to the success of faith formation at the parishes — can take a yearlong course at the Serra Catechetical Institute, which meets at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Concord.

The department also is involved in assisting parish leaders in advancing their skills. One vibrant example was the participation of several parishes in the Amazing Parish conference this summer in Denver. Leaders from parishes including St. Michael in Livermore, St. Mary in Walnut Creek, Christ the King in Pleasant Hill and St. Joseph Basilica in Alameda, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Brentwood and the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, in addition to representatives from the chancery, attended.

Father George Alengadan, pastor of St. Joseph Basilica; Father Van Dinh, pastor of St. Michael Parish; Father Jerry Brown, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish; Father Paulson Mundanmani of Christ the King Parish; and Father Joseph Nguyen, parochial vicar of the Cathedral of Christ the Light, were among the participants.

The conference focused on seven straits that make a parish amazing. They include: founded in prayer; leadership team; clear vision; the Sunday experience; compelling formation; small group discipleship; and missionary zeal.

Five hundred people representing 140 parishes from throughout the United States and Canada attended the Denver conference.

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