Congar Institute for Ministry Development
July, 2012.     San Antonio, TX

The Moral Values of the Gospel: transforming person and society.

The Emmaus Formation Program had two important classes in recent weeks, given by Dr. Jose Antonio Medina. On May 19 and 20 participants attended the course "Morality of the human person"; the class had the objective of explaining the theological bases of Christian morality and how we as human beings can and must shape our lives towards Evangelical perfection through love, truth and good. Dr. Medina helped the students understand that the human person has been called to live happily and that this happinessis achieved through the free and responsible option to do what is good. Despite the human tendency to sin, he emphasized, God's grace makes us capable of "living in the Spirit", with all the moral consequences that this implies. The second lecture given by Dr. Medina was "Social morality", on June 9 and 10. The purpose of the presentation was to awaken awareness in the participants that doing good and avoiding evil should be done not only on a personal level, but also at the social level, and this is part of the demands of a new life in Christ. Dr. Medina explained - using Sacred Scripture and Tradition – that faith in Jesus Christ has socio-political implications. He gave examples from the history of the church to demonstrate that Christian morality also includes a serious responsibility in the quest for the common good and social justice.

Meet a Few of Our Resource Persons

The Congar Institute's greatest resource is our people: highly educated, deeply committed, richly experienced Catholic ordained, religious, and lay ministers who care passionately about God's people especially in those places where the church's presence is limited or absent. Meet a few of our great Resource Persons:

Dr. Jose Antonio Medina

José Antonio Medina is Theological Consultant for Liguori Publications' Spanish language imprint LibrosLiguori. He is also Consultant for Hispanic Affairs for the California Catholic Conference of Bishops. He is a teacher, preacher, speaker, consultant, and writer and has many years of pastoral ministry experience in Mexico and Spain. His pastoral ministry in the United States began in the late 1990s as he ministered among the Latino community, principally in the Los Angeles area. He was awarded a doctorate in theology from Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain in 2004 after submitting a thesis on Urban Theology from a Hispanic Perspective. At the invitation of the same theology faculty, Dr Medina is pursuing a doctorate in sociology. He was the Theological Consultant for the Primer Encuentro Nacional para la Pastoral Juvenil Hispana and has collaborated with Instituto Fe y Vida and other pastoral institutes for Hispanic ministry in California and Nevada. He is also an adjunct professor at Mount St. Mary College and Loyola Marymount University, he has taught courses on ethics and systematic theology. He recently presented courses in Spanish on Ethics to the Emmaus Formation Program in Salt Lake City.

Dr. Antonio Ramirez

Antonio Ramírez de León, PhD, D.Min was born in Mexico City. He has graduate degrees in theology and psychology of education, as well as doctorates in educational counseling, supervision and ministry. Dr. Ramirez has more than 25 years of experience conducting workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats in the United States, Mexico, Central America and Argentina. He also has 25 years of experience in parish ministry and is currently Pastoral Associate at St. Luke’s parish in San Antonio Texas. Dr. Ramirez is also an adjunct professor of religious studies at Incarnate Word University and Mexican-American Catholic College. His book "Manual para los Líderes Laicos de Hoy" (Manual for the Lay Leaders of Today) was recently published by Libros Liguori. Dr. Ramirez collaborated with the Institute for the first time in March 2012 by leading a Lenten Retreat in Spanish and will soon be assisting us with courses in Spanish for the Emmaus Formation Program in Salt Lake City.

Jesus Abrego

Jesus Abrego is the Director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas. As director of Hispanic Ministry for the diocese, Mr. Abrego is instrumental in introducing dynamic new ways to reach the growing Hispanic population in the state of Texas.For more than 10 years, his innovative leadership training and retreat programs, such as the Hispanic Family Conference which drew more than 2,200 people this year, or the youth-centered Pastoral Juvenil Hispana, have reached thousands of children, teens and adults.Jesus is currently one of the twelve finalists nominated to receive the 2012 Lumen Christi Award. This award is given by Catholic Extension Society to an individual or group working in one of America’s mission dioceses who shares the light of Christ with the communities they serve. Mr. Abrego will join us for the first time as facilitator of the Annual Pastoral Congress in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

Fr. Les Schmidt

Fr. Les Schmidt is a Glenmary priest that has been involved in social justice ministry for over 40 years. He has a Master’s Degree in Sociology and has actively worked in the Appalachian missions and many social justice initiatives in the South. He has been involved in efforts—as called for by the bishops—to halt creation of new for-profit, private prisons and also works with groups committed to workers’ rights as detailed in Catholic social teachings. For the past several years Father Les has spoken to many groups on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform, in his role as bishops’ liaison for the Catholic Committee of the South. Over a recent four-week period, he spoke to about 50,000 North Carolina Catholics by invitation of their pastors. He believes the regional work he does helps keep the ministries of Glenmary Home Missioners and the Church focused on this important truth: the cry of the poor is the voice of the Lord among us. Fr. Les will be collaborating with the Institute as the keynote speaker at the Annual Pastoral Congress in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

A Summer on Faith Formation

Locating faith formation within the renewed ecclesial understanding brought about by Vatican II involves a paradigm shift. The key is succinctly expressed in the post-conciliar encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi (On Evangelization in the Modern World) of Paul VI. In section 14, he states: "The Church...has a vivid awareness of the fact that the Savior's words, "I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God," apply in all truth to herself: ... Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize...." As numerous ecclesial documents at every level since then have stated, the implications of this shift are enormous, for it places the ministry of catechesis within the mission of evangelization. One implication is that the focus of our catechetical efforts shifts from children to adults. Why? Because when the fundamental understanding of the church shifts from a focus on institutional maintenance to the focus on a communion in mission, then the goal of catechesis shifts from inculcating the knowledge and traditions of the institution to the nurturing and empowerment of evangelizers, from an internal focus to an external focus, and from catechesis as passing on a body of doctrine to catechesis as immersion in the ongoing history of salvation, initiated by the Creator, empowered by the Spirit, and modeled by the Word Incarnate. The objective of catechesis focuses away from indoctrination to communion and intimacy with Christ, who reveals to us (1) that God seeks above all to be in communion with us (which leads to communion among us and (2) that to be in communion with God necessarily moves us to mission, which is to discover the means by which all creation can be brought into this same communion, a transforming and transformative relationship. Consequently, while catechesis seeks to enrich the faith life of people at every stage of their development, every form of catechesis is oriented in some way to the catechesis of adults who are capable of a full response to God's word" (National Directory for Catechesis, p. 59). And so it has been a great joy for me this summer to explore with DMin students from around the country at Oblate School of Theology and with a large group of students at the Masters, certificate, and faith enrichment levels at the Rice School for Pastoral Ministry in Western Florida what this renewed vision of the church's catechetical ministry means for their own practice of ministry.

The Emmaus Formation Program participants have finished their second year of formation.

Emmaus Formation Program Participants
But what is the Emmaus Formation Program?

Emmaus is a Hispanic Lay Ecclesial Ministry Formation Program created by the Congar Institute for Ministry Development and the Diocese of Salt Lake City based on an inventory of the Diocese formation programs done in 2007.

The Congar Institute has recognized the critical need for formation programs that address the needs of a cohort for whom formation processes will be most effective in the Spanish language. Our collaborating partners noted that an effective formation model for Hispanic LEM candidates would address diverse Click here to read more and Click here to see pictures.


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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