By Nancy Strub
Special to The Witness
DUBUQUE — Lay ministers in the Archdiocese of Dubuque go by many titles and acronyms, such as pastoral associate (PA), pastoral minister (PM), etc. Some are paid, others volunteer; some are highly and specifically trained, others work from varied life experiences and the coaching of those with whom they work. The thing they all have in common is that they serve the people and the parishes of the archdiocese.
St. Teresa said, “The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.”
Another commonality is that all need support and on-going formation. Pastoral ministers and assistants have been meeting for decades to support one another.
This is advised in 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another.” A need for more formal organization for what they were doing informally was identified by the late 1990s, and a certification process was developed in the year 2000 to encourage ongoing formation of members.
With the goals of support and formation in mind, all pastoral ministers in the archdiocese are encouraged to become members of Pastoral Associates and Ministers of the Archdiocese of Dubuque (PAMAD). Each meeting is organized with a morning speaker on a topic of particular interest to those serving in ministries, with a short business meeting after lunch.
The first meeting of the coming year will be Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, titled Ministering to the Bereaved, by Sister Rita Cameron, PBVM. Sister Rita is a counselor with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
The meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, will be titled Building a Vibrant Parish by Father John Haugen of the Emmaus Pastorate, which includes the faith communities of St. Patrick, Colesburg; St. Mark, Edgewood; St. Joseph, Elkader; St. Mary, Strawberry Point; and Sacred Heart, Volga. The spring meeting on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, will be a discussion of New Evangelization by Mary Peterson, director of adult faith formation for the archdiocese.
All meetings this year will be held at Blessed Sacrament Church, Putz Hall, 650 Stephan Ave., Waterloo. Gatherings begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration and refreshments and conclude about 2 p.m. A postcard reminder will be sent to all parishes later this month, inviting and encouraging all ministers to attend.
For more information or to make reservations for the meetings, contact Karen Newman, email@example.com, or call 515-532-3586.
Strub is a past president of the Pastoral Associates and Ministers of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
(L to R): Sue Kuene, Karen Bonfig, PAMAD executive committee members; Lynn Osterhaus, Pastoral Center liaison; Maggie England, president; Karen Newman, secretary; Marsha Hauser, treasurer; and Nancy Strub, past president. (Contributed photo)