By Barb Arland-Fye
IOWA CITY — The Davenport Diocese’s Ministry Formation Program (MFP) opened the academic year with a bilingual liturgy and retreats for both English and Spanish-speaking individuals Sept. 18 at St. Patrick Parish.
“This was the first retreat that has been offered for both English- and Spanish-speaking participants. We anticipate 20 people graduating next year who are Spanish-speaking,” said IlaMae Hanisch, ministry formation coordinator for the Diocese of Davenport.
About 95 individuals from throughout the diocese participated in the daylong retreats; six graduates of the program also were commissioned during a Mass at which Bishop Martin Amos presided: Donna Enderle of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Davenport; Sister Jane McCarthy, OSF, of Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton (who led the Spanish-speaking retreat); and Tracie Kirk, Marilyn Riley, Christopher Wemhoff and Jennifer Wemhoff of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport.
Msgr. Jim Parizek, pastor of Our Lady of Victory, was concelebrant at the Mass. In his pastor’s letter in the Sept. 18-19 parish bulletin, he congratulated his parishioner-graduates for their dedication and commitment to the Church.
Msgr. Parizek provided details about the rigors of their studies — 16 courses (eight hours each) in Scripture, catechesis, theology, morality, liturgy, civil and canon law. He said the Annual Diocesan Appeal, which kicks off Sept. 25-26, financially supports the MFP.
He noted that the four graduates join other members of the parish who have been commissioned as MFP ministers: Marianne Agnoli, John Wagner (a deacon candidate) and Trish Gallagher (pastoral associate for faith formation who served as MFP facilitator for her parish’s new graduates).
“In this era of pastoral planning for our diocese, we are grateful for these lay ecclesial ministers for their dedication to learning and preparation for service to our community,” Msgr. Parizek said.
People throughout the diocese are realizing the importance of lay ministry in service to the Church. “We are seeing an increase in participants primarily because we are offering the Parish Life Administrator and Pastoral Associate training in one of the specialized tracks,” Hanisch said. “We also have two people who are from the Archdiocese of Dubuque who will be participating in the Parish Life Administrator Program.”
In his homily during the MFP liturgy, Bishop Amos offered advice to the gathering of current and future ministers: “We can sometimes get so caught up in ministry that we forget to take care of ourselves. Augustine, in the office of readings this past week, talked about being a Christian and a leader. He said being a Christian was for his benefit; being a leader was for others.”
Bishop Amos reminded the retreat participants to reflect on themselves as Christians, to remain rooted to the vine, maintain a personal prayer life and prayer life in common with others, receive the sacraments and participate in ongoing, lifelong learning.
He spoke to them about being co-workers in the Lord’s vineyard and about their role in sanctifying the world. “There are different ministries and different gifts. Today we acknowledge some of those ministries and some of those gifts in a special way.”