Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 19, 2006
FPS grads mourn loss of prograqm they love
They say it gave foundation in faith, skills for ministries
By RAMON GONZALEZ
Margaret O'Connell, acting director of FPS the past two years, also laments the termination of the program.
"I feel it's a real loss to the diocese and my only hope is that whatever program (the archdiocese) comes up with will be in some ways as good as this one," O'Connell said. "This is really an all-inclusive program and the connection to Newman Theological College is very important."
Another recent graduate, Lori Dexter, a mother of three from Sacred Heart Parish in Gibbons, enrolled in the program mainly because of her interest in social justice and her desire to do volunteer ministry in the inner city.
Her dream came true a year ago when she began volunteering at the Bissell Centre's Day Care for three hours a week. Also the whole graduating class went to the Bissell Centre in May and prepared and served food to the poor.
"We did quite a bit on social justice in the program, a lot of reflection on getting to know who I am and learning how to be kind and loving toward other people, to be non-judgmental," Dexter said. "We learned a lot about service ministry."
Sacred Heart Parish sponsored Dexter for the two-year program. There she serves as eucharistic minister and takes Communion to the elderly and the sick in Gibbons.
"I have an excellent opinion of this program," she said. "It prepared me really well. I'm disappointed (it's being terminated) but I'm hopeful that the program will be replaced with something as long as we can continue to educate the people."
Diane Chartrand of St. Theresa Parish came to the program to get some background education for the ministries she was involved in, namely adult server at funeral Masses and server trainer.
"It's not necessarily that I needed the information but it was just for confidence in myself, to be able to feel more confident in the ministries that I was working in," she explained.
FPS gave her that confidence, which she said is vital not only in her ministry but also in her personal life. Now she is ready to go back to her parish and share her confidence and knowledge.
"I've had it easy for the past two years because I devoted my time to this but now I'm ready to do whatever is asked of me in the parish," she said. The program also ignited a passion for education in Chartrand, who has already enrolled in a three-year course on spiritual direction.
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