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

As is true for many education institutions, Fall is a busy time for the Congar Institute. We were pleased to have Resource Persons sharing the charisms of the Victory Noll Sisters, Glenmary Missioners, and the Sisters of Ss. Cyril and Methodius with the Church of Utah. We were excited to see some of our new lay Resource Persons from the Diocese of Beaumont and the Archdiocese of San Antonio helping to form lay leaders in Spanish and English. It's been a busy time, but a time of wonderful exchange that is the foundation of what we do here. It was also a time to share with those who provide so much support to our mission and without whom the Congar Institute would not exist: the Home Missions Leadership Conference and the Congar Institute Board. All in all, it was a very satisfying Fall! Read all about it.

Home Missions Leadership Conference Annual Meeting

By Fr. Wayne Cavalier, OP


From left to right, top to bottom: Fr. Dan Dorsey, Glenmary, Bro. Paul Michalenko ST, Sr. Sharon Miller, Glenmary, Sr. Ginger Downey OLVM, Fr. Wil Stainbacher, Glenmary, Fr. Wayne Cavalier, OP, Bro. Jack Henn, Glenmary, Fr. Joe Merkt, Alejandro Siller, Sr. Leora Linnenkugel OLVM, Fr. Chet Artysiewicz, Glenmary, Dr. David Byers, Fr. Michael Thompson SSJ.


Participants of the HMLC held their annual meeting September 27-29 in Nashville, TN. Alejandro and I attended. Representatives also attended from the Glenmary Home Missioners, Glenmary Sisters, Victory Noll Sisters, Josephites, Southern Dominican Province, and the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity. The focus of the meeting was on intercultural challenges in community and mission. Part of the meeting, as usual, was given to hearing a report on the collaborative project administered by the Congar Institute, Developing Lay Ecclesial Ministry for the U.S. Missions. The participants were pleased to learn about our ongoing work and new prospects as well as new and successful efforts in fundraising. We discussed the future of our collaborative project and the need to reassess the gifts of our Resource Persons. We will soon begin a process in which we will invite our present Resource Persons to reaffirm their availability to the project and each community will also be asked to identify new members who might be interested in assisting and especially to reconsider who might be able to help with Spanish-language lay formation. We discussed the importance of effective communication with our Resource Persons and the need for showing our gratitude for their generosity and support. We are aware that occasionally we have fallen short during times of limited staff or staff transitions. The group concluded that the project continues to be a worthwhile collaboration through which we creatively multiply our impact and the presence of our charisms in mission areas by working together. The consensus was that the collaborative project continues to be deserving of support.

Click here to see photos of the meeting

The Joy of Believing and the Enthusiasm for Communicating the Faith

By Sr. Linda Marie Bolinski, SS.C.M.


On Saturday, September 29, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with catechists from the areas surrounding St. George, Utah, situated in the far southwestern corner of Utah and part of the Salt Lake City Diocese. The topic for our day together was the Year of Faith and its connection with the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Some of the participants had traveled long distances to attend this session, but what commitment and energy they sustained throughout the day! The presence of the pastor, Father Martin Picos, the diocesan director of religious education, Susan Northway, and St. George’s director of religious education, Jill Luttrell, underscored how committed they were to supporting those who serve in parish catechesis and the work of evangelization. I personally felt the strength and commitment to the faith that was present in that gathering, and the desire of the participants to know more in order to be able to offer a richer and fuller witness of the faith to others. The day’s experience reinforced for me the power and support of our shared life of faith in Christ Jesus, and how together we can make this Year of Faith an occasion for the rediscovery of “the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith.”

“All Are Welcome in this Place”

Bishop Wester inaugurating the Pastoral Congress
(Picture by Intermountain Catholic)


Uplifting, vibrant, Spirit-filled. So was the Diocese of Salt Lake City’s 2012 Pastoral Congress held last month at the Skaggs Catholic Center. Around 600 people attended the Congress which had the theme “Hospitality: All Are Welcome in This Place.” Many speakers from around the country were invited to present different workshops to help participants explore the relationship of hospitality to stewardship and prepare for the Year of Faith 2012-2013 declared by Pope Benedict XVI. We are truly blessed to have had four of our Resource Persons representing the Congar Institute at the Pastoral Congress. Fr. Les Schmidt, Glenmary, was the keynote speaker, after the event he said: “The Spirit of welcome and hospitality was inspiring. With God there are no outsiders and that was echoed throughout the gathering.” Steve and Palmira Hays, Associate members of Victory Noll, presented a special workshop for the LEM Program participants on Intercultural Ministry. Steve shared his thoughts with us: “Palmira and I were impressed with the Diocesan Pastoral Congress in Salt Lake City . . . the participants in our workshop dealing with Multicultural Ministries were men and women dedicated to their parishes and the Diocese of Salt Lake City. They brought years of experience in working with the growing number of Hispanics (10 percent of the total Utah population) and other racial and ethnic groups in their communities.” [Editor's note: In this predominantly Mormon state, the Hispanic Catholic population represents approximately 80% of the overall Catholic population.]

Also representing the Institute was Jesus Abrego, Director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry from the Diocese of Beaumont. He facilitated three different workshops with topics varying from Intercultural Hispanic Ministry to Youth/Young Adult Pastoral Ministry both in English and Spanish. Jesus commented: “Participating in this conference was an uplifting experience, it’s always good to see our Catholic brothers and sisters eager to hear and share the good news of our Lord.”Alejandro Siller-Gonzalez, our Assistant Director for Hispanic Programs, also attended the Congress and ran the Institute’s informational exhibit during the event. Susan Northway, Diocesan Director of Religious Education, was very pleased with the turnout for the event and with the participation of our Resource Persons, she commented:“Jesus [Abrego] was a huge hit . . . many participants had some of their long held stereotypes challenged with [Palmira and Steve] Hays . . . Fr.Schmidt is a most powerful and remarkable preacher with a powerful message about welcoming all, he was full of energy, gregarious and passionate about justice; prophetic zeal consumes him.”At the Congar Institute, we are truly honored to have taken part in this great event of adult faith formation.

Click here to see a few pictures of the event

Latino Anthropology and Spirituality

“Once again I had the opportunity to participate in the Emmaus program in the Diocese of Salt Lake City and once again my experience was outstanding. The commitment that the students show in preparing themselves for ministry as Latino lay leaders is admirable. In the recent class in September we studiedthe anthropology and spirituality of the Latino people and discussed a process of integration between the multinational Latinos and the existing culture in the society and Church of Utah. The event was very well organized with over 60 participants. As we prepare to have Part II of the session in November, please keep us in your prayers.” Antonio Ramirez, PhD, commenting on his recent participation in the Spanish-Language Lay Ecclesial Ministry Formation Program “Emmaus” in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

Congar Institute Board Meeting

By Fr. Wayne Cavalier, OP


Alejandro and I attended the governing board meeting of the Congar Institute. Although attendance was limited due to several last-minute conflicts, the discussions were rich and important. As the Board turns over in membership, new members were oriented to the genesis of the Institute and the participation of the Home Missions Leadership Conference. The role of the Board was discussed. We continued to reflect on the means by which the Institute will become more solidly established, from fundraising to the development of structures allowing for transition of personnel to the use of Board subcommittees to assist with administration. The exciting prospects of new projects that are on the horizon lent an air of optimism to the meeting. Possibilities for collaborating with Barry University were discussed and will be followed up.


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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