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Seton Hall University

Lay Leadership Formation and Development  

Lay Leadership Formation and DevelopmentReverend James R. White, D.Min., presented a workshop on January 11, 2014 to the permanent deacon candidates and their wives of the Diocese of Paterson.

Reverend James R. White, D.Min., Chaplain, Seton Hall Preparatory School, presented a workshop on the topic of Lay Leadership Formation and Development to the Diocese of Paterson permanent diaconate candidates and their wives at St. Paul Inside the Walls, Madison on Saturday January 11, 2014. These skills are identified as one of the basic standards for readiness for ordination, in the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. Permanent Deacons, as part of their ministry, need to be able to effectively call to action volunteers and develop lay leaders in the community.

Fr. White began the workshop by highlighting key words and concepts to help mobilize and affirm volunteers. To empower, involve, encourage and entrust are just some of the concepts that call to action, challenge and teach others to live out their Baptismal call of active participation in their faith and community. By recognizing the gifts of others and helping them to see the value of sharing their gifts, deacons can encourage volunteers to emerge in the parish. With ongoing development and training, these volunteers can evolve into ministerial leaders.

In his workshop, Fr. White illustrated how obstacles on the part of a person of authority (in this case the priest or deacon) or even a lay leader can result in ineffective ministry. Attitudes of “I’ll just do it myself,” ego, or fear of failure can have a negative effect on a person’s willingness to call forth others into ministry. In contrast, feelings of unworthiness, lack of training, and limited availability of time can cause potential volunteers to decline an invitation to participate in ministry. It is necessary for the Deacon to have the skills and resources to enable them to call forth, affirm, and develop the gifts and talents of others.

In the second session of the workshop, Fr. White broke attendees in small groups where they were able to reflect on their own participation in parish ministry. Discussions included ways they were invited to be active participants and how they responded to the call, as well as, how some have already had their own opportunity to invite people to ministry and the results of that invitation.

To wrap up the workshop, Fr. White offered some simple tips for success in calling forth laity to ministry and reminded everyone to always ‘thank, thank, thank,’ and appreciate!

The next pastoral formation program will be a presentation on Catholic Identity, Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue by Rev. Msgr. John Radano, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology, on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

Categories: Faith and Service

For more information, please contact:

  • Kimberly Mailley
  • (973) 275-2435
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