By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
IOWA CITY — The church is filled with Catholics who have unique gifts and talents to share, Bishop Martin Amos said during the Ministry Formation Program commissioning ceremony at St. Mary Parish in Iowa City on Oct. 15.
Nine newly commissioned lay ecclesial ministers completed the two-year Ministry Formation Program (MFP) Foundations Track, which aims to help Catholics grow in their relationships with Christ and develop into deeply spiritual, competent and effective lay ecclesial ministers. Participants had the option of taking part in an instructional session at the St. Vincent Center in Davenport once a month, or viewing the video of the session and then meeting once a month with a facilitator-led small group in Oskaloosa, West Point or Iowa City.
Two of the newly commissioned lay ministers work for the church: Karina Garnica is an immigration counselor for the Diocese of Davenport, and Rebecca Hannum serves as parish coordinator at St. Mary Parish in West Point. Hannum said, “In my position, I am to work with the parish staff and our parish council, finance, and our various committees to help with parish development. I believe this additional education will help me more effectively serve my parish.”
Andrew Reif is the volunteer choir director at St. Mary Parish in Dodge-ville. He celebrated his commissioning with his family, including 5-month old daughter Mary. He said he has missed the active learning environment of college, and the MFP program offered him an opportunity to engage in learning once again. “It’s definitely a worthwhile program,” he said.
The other new lay ecclesial ministers are active in their parishes and chose to take part in MFP to learn more about their church and faith.
“I wanted to fully understand what it is all about,” said Juana Plum of St. Mary Parish in Albia. “When people would ask me questions, I didn’t know the answers. I felt bad.” She hopes to use her knowledge and new-found confidence to serve and minister to the elderly.
Plum lives in Oskaloosa, and took part in small-group sessions with three women from St. Mary Parish in Oskaloosa. The women said the convenience of having small-group sessions in their hometown gave them “no excuses.” “This group! Once they got started, they were going all the way!” said facilitator IlaMae Hanisch.
William and Jane Doucette are active at St. Mary Parish in Iowa City and head up the free lunch program there. They want to do more service work after they retire in a few years. Jane said the training they received through MFP will help them “feel more confident when we go out and serve others.”
Ministry Formation Program
The Diocese of Davenport’s Ministry Formation Program offers several tracks for lay ecclesial ministers. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the Ministry Formation Program, contact Marianne Agnoli at (563) 888-4244 or agnolim
@davenportdiocese.org or Barb Butterworth at (563) 888 4240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.