BRIDGEPORT—The Leadership Institute began its final round of face-to-face formation sessions at the Catholic Center in Bridgeport last week.
Face-to-face gatherings were established as part of the introduction to the revised Norms Governing Liturgical Ministries and have been attended by more than 4,000 people throughout the diocese with more than 60 sessions being held since January.
The revised norms offer standards and required formation for those who serve as readers (proclaimers of the Word at Mass), Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC), altar servers and musicians.
Face-to-face formation gatherings offer resources, such as a video address from Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, reflection questions, a glossary of liturgical terms, a visual guide to items found at Mass, selected Scripture passages targeted to each group, and instructions about the new norms.
“It has been a remarkable experience for the men and women who have participated—an affirmation and updating of their role in the Church and an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the faith,” says Patrick Donovan, director of the Leadership Institute and coordinator of these formation gatherings.
The sessions cover a wide range of topics including a history of liturgical ministry and ways to engage in ministry prayerfully and respectfully. When participants gather, they watch a video in which Bishop Caggiano speaks of missionary discipleship and they share in small group discussions about their own experience of reaching out to the periphery.
In the video message from Bishop Caggiano presented at each formation gathering, he reflects on how one can become a missionary disciple in our daily lives. “Evangelization is all about a person…that person is Jesus. In our 21st century, the challenges are new. We must bring them in service of preaching the Good News,” says the bishop.
Patrick Donovan explains that these new norms are ad experimentum for a year after their promulgation in order to consider feedback from those participating in formation. He adds that during the Feast of Corpus Christi in June, each pastor in the diocese will preach on the liturgy in order to introduce parishioners to the meanings and reasonings behind the new norms.
The Leadership Institute, which was formed out of the desire of Synod delegates to offer formation and learning opportunities, has also launched an online platform to assist in formation. More than 3,000 liturgical ministers are participating in online and offline learning and the Institute will soon turn its attention to the formation of catechists—a number which tops 4,000.
(To learn more about the many resources and events sponsored by the Leadership Institute, including the remaining sessions for liturgical ministers, visit: www.formationreimagined.org.)