DREs given ‘tour’ of many
By DAVID MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register
On June 1, Directors of Religious Education from across the diocese learned that, for being a relatively small diocese perched in the prairies of southwest Kansas, the Diocese of Dodge City has got a lot going on.
DRE Day, which drew more than 50 Directors of Religious Education from across southwest Kansas to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, is an annual event that underscores numerous programs in the diocese that offer both education and faith enrichment.
For more information about any of these programs, visit www.dcdiocese.org and scroll to the yellow book icon on the bottom left. Following are snippets of a just a few of the programs that were highlighted during DRE Day.
Interactive Television (ITV) is a method by which numerous programs, including Pastoral Ministry Formation, Catechist Formation, and others, are taught simultaneously at 10 sites throughout the diocese. Each class is interactive, allowing the participants to communicate with the presenter.
“It is a wonderful experience,” said Coleen Stein, ITV coordinator. “I feel like I’ve been blessed to meet a lot of people throughout the diocese, and to know not only their names but what’s in their hearts.”
The schedule for all upcoming ITV events can be found at www.dcdiocese.org/interactive-television.
Called and Gifted
Approximately 1,000 people from across the diocese have participated in the 22 Called and Gifted workshops that have so far been presented in southwest Kansas, which are designed to allow people to recognize their charisms, or gifts of the Holy Spirit. “This workshop teaches all about what a charism is, how to discern a charism, and how discerning your charism can change your life, and the life of the world,” explained Becky Hessman, coordinator of Called and Gifted.
“Through baptism and confirmation, we are anointed and empowered to be the presence of Jesus in the world. And we do this through charisms. Charisms are the ways we carry the love, mercy and wisdom of Jesus to others.”
The next Called and Gifted workshop will take place from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Feb. 26, 2011 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and will be presented in English and Spanish. For more information, go to www.dcdiocese.org/called-and-gifted, or call Hessman at (620) 227-1530.
Catholic activities for youth in the Diocese of Dodge City are many and varied, and unfortunately, most youth are either unaware of them, or have chosen not to participate. Steven Polley, Director of Youth Ministry and Religious Education, asked those gathered why the numbers of youth attending events in the diocese has diminished over the years.
“A year ago at this time, we were very excited because we had more than 325 local youth, including chaperones, attending the National Catholic Youth Conference in Kansas City,” Polley said. The high turnout left organizers with high hopes for other upcoming youth events.
“Then we come to the high school youth rally in March, and we had just over 100 young people register, 25 of whom were from the diocesan youth council. I was extremely disappointed with the response.
“Are the voices of the young people honored and heard in the church?” Polley asked. “In your [parish youth] program, you have to be doing something to allow the voice of the voiceless to be heard.”
Polley also asked if the atmosphere at their parish is “welcoming, comfortable, safe, predictable, one in which all adolescents know that their presence is welcome? Are we doing things in our youth programs that are making the young people truly feel welcome?
“In everything that we’re doing with our young people, we need in some way to be looking at these three goals: to empower young people; to foster responsible participation in life mission and work; and to foster the total personal spiritual growth of each young person….”
For information on all upcoming youth activities, go to www.dcdiocese.org/youth.
According to vocation director Becky Hessman, a 2007 survey by the National Opinion Research Center in Chicago found that “clergy” rank first in job satisfaction. Eighty-seven percent of clergy said they are “very satisfied with their job.”
“We learned that job satisfaction has little to do with earning money, and a whole lot to do with helping people,” Hessman said. Second place in “general happiness” is the profession of firefighter, she said.
“Isn’t it interesting that clergy and firefighters are the most fulfilling professions in the United States. Firefighters literally save people from flames, and priests set people on fire with the Holy Spirit.”
Hessman went on to highlight several local programs that are designed to nurture an atmosphere of discernment among young people, such as a summer “vocation day” for high school students, the “Encounter With God’s Call” trip to a Conception Seminary in Missouri, and “Companion Camp” for boys entering the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
“One of the most pressing needs in our diocese is the need for priestly vocations and consecrated life,” she said.
For more information, go to www.dcdiocese.org/vocations, or call Hessman at (620) 227-1530.
Protecting God’s Children
Also addressed at the DRE Day gathering was the Protecting God’s Children program and the requirement for every Church employee as well as all volunteers (DREs, catechists, youth ministers, etc...) who work with children, to attend a Protecting God’s Children workshop.
“It is out of love and care for our children that we do all we do to create safe places for our children whenever they are at parish related activities: PSR classes, mission groups, social events, what have you,” said Sister Janice Grochowsky, CSJ, JCL, Diocesan Coordinator for the Safe Environment Program.
Pastoral Ministry Formation
“The Church repeatedly insists that adult formation should be at the center of our catechetical efforts,” said Stein, coordinator of Pastoral Ministry Formation. “When we as adults become involved in our own faith formation, we show our children and our youth that faith formation is a lifelong process.”
PMF is an extensive adult education program that offers several three-hour courses, from “Theology of the Church,” to “Creeds and Faith,” to “Christian Morality and Social Issues.” Depending on the level of participation, the student could earn a degree in pastoral ministry, a diocesan diploma, or neither if the individual chooses to take classes for personal enrichment. The program, which includes 30 hours of college credit hours, is designed to “nurture and send forth mature disciples, conscious of responding to their baptismal call, to be heralds of the Gospel in building up the Church of the Diocese of Dodge City.”
“Pastoral Ministry Formation in my life has been a blessing,” Stein said. “And the best thing that it has done is to help my four children see that I’m willing to learn as an adult.
“You guys give so much to our kids and our youth,” she told the DREs. “Take time for yourself. Take time to feed yourself. …I have people from all over country calling me about this program, and it’s right here. I invite you to really embrace this and come to this program.”
For more information, go to www.dcdiocese.org/pastoral-ministry-formation, or call Stein at (620) 227-1538.