The focus of the conference included input and best practice discussions around Theological Reflection on Ministry in the Context of the New Generation of Ministers, and Supervision, Evaluation and Assessment. See the schedule below.
Friday, January 26: TR in the Context of the New Generation and the World
After gathering on Thursday evening for a reception, the group reconvened on Friday morning at a tone-setter from Msgr. Marc Trudeau who introduced the reality of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the other diocese served by St. John's, particularly the demographics of the Southwest Catholic Church. See below for these statistics. This was followed by a thoughtful invitation by Dr. Christina Zaker from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago to enter into the biennial consultation with the openness we bring to theological reflection. She introduced the gathering to Theological Reflection in Parabolic Mode and thus invited us to pay attention throughout the weekend not only to what is familiar, but to pay even more attention to the stuff that surprised or shocked us, much as the parables do. We were challenged to see with new eyes both our work and our vision for CATFE as we listened and conversed.
The panel was made up of three young adults themselves working in different capacities with young adults in Los Angeles. They were asked to reflect on Current Contexts for Young Adult Catholics and Discerners. The panel consisted of Sr. Jennifer Zimmerman, SND at USC Catholic Center as Campus Minister of Spiritual Life, particularly in the area of religious life discernment; Fr. Jonathan Meyer, a young, recently ordained priest and new formator this year at Queen of Angels Center for Seminary Formation; and Mr. Jason Coito, Coordinator of Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. One of the participants of CATFE was Dr. Maureen Day of Franciscan Theological School in Oceanside who is both a sociologist and field educator, and is awaiting the publishing of her book on young adult ministry. She too weighed in on the conversations about both the young Catholic students in our schools and those young Catholics we are training our students to minister with and evangelize. CATFE will update the website with her research when it is available. In the meantime, there was a fruitful conversation about what we can and cannot profile about this new generation.
In the afternoon the 23 CATFE participants made a field trip to Casa Pacifica (www.casapacifica.org), a residence and outpatient wrap-around facility for at-risk youth and their families. This field placement is located only five miles from the seminary. We were given a presentation and tour of this impressive facility, one the few of its kind in the country.
Saturday, January 27: Supervision, Evaluation and Assessment
On Saturday morning Fr. Allen Kuss and Sr. Charlotte Berres from St. Paul Seminary, MN, gave a presentation on their three intensive programs on Evangelization, Spiritual Pastoral Ministry (taking the place of CPE), and the Teaching Parish Program. All three of these manuals and the PowerPoint presentation are available in the Documents tab of this CATFE website under Members Area. This presentation led into a fruitful and lively conversation among all of the participants about areas of pastoral formation in its different iterations across our varied contexts as well as the challenges of good supervision, evaluation, and eventually, assessment.
Fr. Andrew Turner from St. Mary's Seminary, Wickcliffe, OH, gave a presentation on his development of a technological assessment tool he is beta-testing at his seminary for an ATS grant. This software focuses the formators and professors on the five outcomes of the overall program by tracking student progress in a single software program. All of the CATFE participants struggle with program assessment, so this discussion was particularly lively. See Fr. Andy's the ATS Summary Proposal and the accompanying slides in the Documents area.
In the CATFE Business meeting it was determined to leave the leadership team in place for this year as a a few viable candidates cannot commit this year. Fr. Rodel Balagtas and Sr. Leanne Hubbard, SND have been on the team for three and four years, respectively. It was helpful to have leaders geographically in the area of the CATFE Biennial. We will continue to have the conversation about where the next Biennial will take place. Approximately half the members present will attend the ATFE Conference in Asheville, NC January 30-February 2, but there was interest in tacking on a CATFE meeting on January 29 that others may attend. Kathy Castillo from Christ the King Seminary, NY is still on the leadership team. St. John Vianney Regional Seminary in Boyton Beach agreed to look into hosting the next CATFE Biennial. Since then, however, they have offered 2022 instead as they are in a busy time leading up to 2020.
At the end of these meetings, the last stop was Ventura for a tour and Vigil Mass at the San Buenaventura Mission with one of the St. John's Interns and Supervising Pastor. Mass was followed by a bite to eat on Ventura's happening Main St. Here ended CATFE Biennial 2018.
If you attended and would like to write about the experience and the input, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. More articles will be coming from our leadership team in the near future.
Profile of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles - Msgr. Marc Trudeau, Rector
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles comprises three counties in the southern part of the State of California: Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The area extends from the northern county line of Santa Barbara County, near the city of Santa Maria, to the southern county line of Los Angeles County.
It covers 8,762 square miles (22,430 square kilometers) of territory. The total Roman Catholic population, as of 2016, stands at 4,031,831 people living among a total population of 11,519,000. (about 35% of the population).
To put into perspective, there are 3.9 million people living in Ireland, a country with 26 Dioceses. Los Angeles has more Catholics than the entire population of Ireland.
In 2016, 67,000 children and adults were baptized or brought into the church in Los Angeles, more than New York and Chicago, combined. Added to that would be the 10,000 from the Diocese of Orange, and around the same from San Bernardino and San Diego dioceses.
There are 288 parishes located in 120 cities throughout the Archdiocese in the three counties. There are seven missions and chapels and nine Eastern Catholic churches. In all, there are a total of 225 Catholic elementary schools serving some 65,000 students, while there are 53 Catholic high schools with about 30,000 students enrolled. Together they comprise one of the three largest school systems in California in either the public or private sector.
Ethnic services in a very culturally mixed environment are offered to 72 different groups. These services include clergy, liturgy, social services, publications, counseling, and cultural affairs.
Hospitals, various social service programs, jails, as well as advocacy operations are all part of the ministerial service of parishes.
Serving these ministries, the archdiocese employs about 1000 priests. It sounds like a lot but of 1000, 495 (including the 150 retired) are diocesan priests, most of whom work in parish ministry. Of these, 282 or 57% are St. John’s alumni.
Los Angeles seminarians make up a little less than 2/3 of our students but we have students from all over southern California, including Orange and San Bernardino both of which are in the top 10 largest dioceses in the country. San Diego, Monterey and the Maronite dioceses all have their own unique flavors. The realities of the different dioceses are important in our strategy to expose the men to ministries that are meaningful to their local church.
The impact on the seminary is twofold. Preparing men for the mission becomes increasingly complicated because of the diverse populations and accompanying needs of the community. Secondly, our men come from those realities so we are, ourselves, dealing with diverse needs of students, some of whom come with challenges in English literacy, either coming as foreign student or students coming without humanities degrees