Pastoral formation enters a new phase

CHARLESTON—The diocesan program of pastoral formation is advancing into its second phase of development for the laity. Created by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone and headed up by Franciscan Sister Kathy Adamski, pastoral formation was developed as a way for laypeople employed in diocesan offices and parishes to learn more about the faith and how it relates to their work.

This year, the program is taking on the topic of human formation — how we grow and mature into an image and likeness of Christ, Sister Kathy said.

The goal is to help people understand themselves and their fellow workers, which will guide them to be more effective, efficient and faith-filled.

Year IV will kick off on Aug. 23 with diocesan personnel in Charleston. After that, the religious sister will take the program to parishes across the state.

In addition to serving diocesan personnel, Sister Kathy said she also hosts a number of retreats each year at parishes and schools as a way to reach out to more people.

The program started in 2015 as a way to help the Church “open her windows and become a more dynamic part of the world”, she said.

Working in conjunction with Bishop Guglielmone, Sister Kathy said the goal is to bring the teachings of Vatican II and the popes to life, helping people realize their role in understanding, professing and living the faith.

“We have to not only preach the Gospel — we have to live it every day,” she said. “That is what pastoral formation is all about. It is important to learn about Scripture, Church tradition and teaching, but then we have to put it into action.”

So far it has been an educational discovery — looking at the Church, her people, where we are going and ways to live out our baptismal call to present Christ to the world, Sister Kathy said.

It’s a journey she has enjoyed, as each time she sees the goodness in people. For example, she was researching different sources of funding recently when she crossed paths with a couple from her home state and ended up receiving a grant from their family foundation to help with the pastoral ministry.

Sister Kathy said reaching out through pastoral formation reaffirms her belief in people’s goodness, and the providence of God.

Looking back:

  • Year I focused on developing a personal relationship with Christ and how each person’s job can reflect the face of Jesus;
  • Year II discussed the seven sacraments and their meaning in today’s world, plus the personalities of parishes, discussed by Cardinal Avery Dulles in “Models of the Church”;
  • Year III delved into the issues of social justice and morality.

File photo: Chapel of the Holy Family at the Diocese of Charleston’s Pastoral Center.