Written by Amy Wise Taylor
Originally published in The Catholic Miscellany
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA — Church personnel, just by the nature of their jobs, are often expected to know the answers to all manner of questions regarding the faith. They are queried about the sacraments, the Liturgy, the readings and more. It is a level of knowledge that requires continual education.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone hopes to provide that education and has tapped Franciscan Sister Kathy Adamski to lead a new program that will provide pastoral formation for the lay staff of parishes and chancery offices.
In an email to The Miscellany, Sister Kathy explains the genesis of the idea, saying: Pope John XXIII stated before Vatican II, the Church must open her windows and become a more dynamic part of the world. Vatican II challenged people to fulfill the call they received through the sacraments of baptism and confirmation and serve the Church in many and various ways.
The bishop’s vision is to bring the teachings of Vatican II and recent papal teachings to life, she noted. Pastoral formation is about helping people realize their role in understanding, professing and living the faith.
“We ought to be able to talk with our friends and neighbors and feel confident in explaining Church teaching so that others have a correct understanding of our faith,” she said.
For example, the faithful should understand the meaning of the Mass as a time of worship, offering to the Lord the joys and sorrows of the previous week and pledging to do better.
Along those lines, Sister Kathy recalls a well-known quote from Mother Teresa: “This may be the only face of Jesus that people will see today.”
The religious sister said we should all try to be the face of Jesus to everyone we meet, and this is the message she hopes to bring to others through the diocese’s new education ministry.
“When we come to work here [in the Church], it should be different than walking into another building. A church ministry should affect how we speak to each other, how we dress, our kindness, everything,” she said.
Currently, she is hammering out a curriculum with advice from Sister Pamela Smith, Secretary of Education, which will be offered to all parishes staffs and diocesan personnel.
Sister Kathy has a background in education working in Catholic high schools and universities, and is a former vocation director for her community, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. She was pastoral associate at St. Benedict Church in Mount Pleasant and serves on the boards of the seminary and Catholic Charities.