Congar Institute for Ministry Development January, 2013 San Antonio, TX     

On behalf of our sponsoring Home Mission Leadership Conference and our Board and staff members, we want to wish you joy, love and hope during this New Year 2013. We pray that the grace of God provides you with the wisdom and the strength that comes from our faith, to listen to what you are called to do for the Kingdom of God and to act on it this year!

At the Congar Institute we will renew our commitment to serve our mission:

“The Congar Institute for Ministry Development is an initiative of the Southern Dominican Province that promotes the excellent formation that lay people called to pastoral leadership seek and deserve. The Institute is rooted in a commitment to pass on the Catholic Tradition to the next generation, especially in dioceses with limited resources. It facilitates collaboration that fosters pastoral formation and an apostolic vision at a time of ministerial transformation. To this end, the Institute and its programs draw upon and harmonize the charisms of religious congregations and other ecclesial institutions in order to confirm, support, and augment existing pastoral programs”.

We have new projects coming up this year and several contacted dioceses who have expressed their need for our services such as the Diocese of Sacramento, more information about this new project is provided in this newsletter.

We are very grateful for your support and ask that you pray for us as we continue to be faithful to God’s call to serve our Church in building the Kingdom of God. We pray for you too. Happy 2013!

A New Collaborative Project


We are pleased to announce a new collaboration agreement between the Diocese of Sacramento and the Congar Institute. The Diocese of Sacramento has recognized the challenges of invigorating the formation of the laity in the diocese. As part of his strategic plan for the Diocese, Bishop Jaime Soto has asked those responsible for ministry formation to implement pastoral initiatives to respond to these challenges. In response, they are developing a strategic and comprehensive vision of formation for lay leaders.

The Congar Institute for Ministry Development, as a strategic partner, will provide the Diocese of Sacramento an inventory that will look at present programs, available resources (personnel, technology, finances, and so on), and unaddressed needs that will lead to a comprehensive report and plan for implementation.

At the Congar Institute, we are committed to excellent formation for lay persons in pastoral leadership; we are delighted to share this commitment with the Diocese of Sacramento and to be able to collaborate with them in making this a reality for the Diocese.

Counting Blessings

By Lizett Farias

A year ago I started my journey at the Congar Institute. As eager as I was to start a ministry job, I never expected the "copious rain of blessings" that comes from working at an ecclesial institution and with such wonderful people. This past year I have been able to witness to the faith of many and to their commitment to adult faith formation. Fr. Wayne's vision, direction and knowledge have guided me every step of the way. The students and collaborators in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Utah, have shown me what it means to be committed, passionate and eager to pass on the Catholic faith to others. Their testimony of true Christian discipleship is a blessing to the Diocese and to all of us who have the opportunity to collaborate with them. Alejandro’s addition to the staff of the Congar Institute was also a blessing; he has brought new hope and a contagious joy to this ministry.

The outstanding education and level of expertise from the Resource Persons that collaborate with the Institute, priests, religious women, lay men and women, have inspired me and reaffirmed my call to better prepare myself to serve the People of God. I deeply share the vision of the Institute, to assist in the excellent formation of lay leaders, and as a lay leader myself, now more than ever, I am moved to answer that call. With the support of the Congar Institute, I was able to finish this past year my Certificate in Religious Studies from the University of the Incarnate Word. And with this help, I am now enrolled in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry Program at Oblate School of Theology. The learning opportunities I encounter everyday while ‘doing my job’ are endless, what a blessing!

As we begin a new year, with new projects, challenges and opportunities I continue to count my blessings. The future of the Congar Institute is full of hope; I just pray that God allows me to be part of it.

Insights from a Glenmary Priest


“One of the great gifts of being a Glenmary Missioner and a Resource Person for the Congar Institute is the variety of opportunities and experiences that are offered to you--- giving an Advent day of Prayer in St. George Utah was both a privilege and a learning experience. The vibrant Catholic community of St. George has much in common with those whom Glenmary ministers--- being Catholic in an area where you are a small minority and the daily challenge of living your faith. Those who attended the day were enthusiastic and receptive to the material presented. In speaking with many of the individuals I found that they hailed from all parts of the United States and beyond. What a wonderful mixture of folks and what a grace filled day it was for me!”

Fr. Dan Dorsey, Glenmary, shares his insights about his recent participation in an Advent Retreat at St. George Parish in Utah. This event is part of the Adult Formation Program created by the Diocese of Salt Lake City, St. George Parish, and the Congar Institute.

The New Evangelization with "Pastoral Hispana de Conjunto"

By Alejandro Siller-González


The Congar Institute is present in our Church to collaborate in the goal for excellent pastoral formation programs, in English and Spanish, especially with those underserved communities in our Church such as Hispanics. That is why we are active and supportive members of the Federation of Pastoral Institutes (FIP), National Catholic Association for Diocesan Directors for Hispanic Ministry (NCADDHM), and the National Council for Catholic Hispanic Ministers (NCCHM) and others who serve in the pastoral leadership formation with Hispanic communities.

This New Year of 2013 will be a hallmark for Hispanic ministry because of the first convocation of its kind issued by the three organizations mentioned above to collaborate more closely and effectively. The goal is to join efforts and ideas to better serve the People of God in the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit and strengthened by the maternal care of Our Lady of Guadalupe, our “Morenita”

One of the many contributions of the Hispanic community to the Church in the U.S. has been the “Pastoral de Conjunto”. The National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry defines it as:

“the harmonious coordination of all the elements of the pastoral ministry with the actions of the pastoral ministers and structures in view of a common goal: the Kingdom of God. It is not only a methodology but the expression of the essence and mission of the Church, which is to be and to make communion.”

It is relevant for our Church today that national Hispanic organizations focus in “Pastoral de Conjunto” as a means and a goal that will effectively respond to the Pope and Bishops’ call to the New Evangelization. This change requires rethinking, led by the Holy Spirit, on how can we the Hispanic national organizations promote among its members the New Evangelization.

The first step has been taken by convening a joint annual national ordinary meeting of the membership of each organization on August 26-29, 2013 in Las Vegas NE. The purpose of this meeting will be to reflect on how our organizations need to respond to the call of a New Evangelization. Our meeting will be based in “Pastoral de Conjunto” and will use the Theological Reflection process. In addition to preparing for the national joint gathering, those of us members of the Board of the convening organizations will have a retreat on April 10-12, 2013 in Chicago.

Paraphrasing our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, the Hispanic communities want to be “active participants” in our Church and respond as co-responsible baptized members. We want to serve all our brothers and sisters in the Church, and together serve the Church in “Pastoral de Conjunto”.


285 Oblate Drive
San Antonio, TX 78216-6693
Email: congarinstitute@ost.edu
Phone: 210-341-1366 Ext. 269
Fax: 210-341-4519

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