Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 10, 2000
Newman to offer lay leadership program
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Newman Theological College will soon be offering professional ministry training to selected lay people from 18 dioceses in Western and Northern Canada.
The new Lay Pastoral Leadership Program, sparked by the shortage of priests, is basically a master of divinity program that also addresses lay pastoral leadership issues such as parish administration.
The three-and-a-half-year program is aimed at offering better professional ministry training to people already working in the field, especially where there is a shortage of priests, explained program director Adela Torchia.
"What we are trying to do is to equip the lay person for a possible role as leader of a parish where a priest is not available," she said.
The program starts in September with an anticipated graduation date of December 2003. Successful students will receive a master of divinity degree.
The lay pastoral leadership program will have the same content as the regular master of divinity program, except that it will feature additional workshops and sessions specifically geared to lay pastoral leadership, Torchia explained. The program also includes an internship period in a parish.
Each diocese in Western and Northern Canada will select one candidate for the program which will offer up to one third of its courses via distance education.
The program is funded through a $723,000 grant from the Lilly Foundation through the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. It covers tuition, books as well as living expenses while students are on campus.
Representatives of all 18 Western and Northern Canadian dioceses gave the pilot project their blessing at a late February symposium in Edmonton.
Torchia and a seven-member steering committee will monitor the program throughout its duration. Whether the program will continue afterwards, is up to the participating dioceses.
"We are hoping the program will continue with the support of the of all Western and Northern dioceses," Torchia said.