Six new lay church workers – Lay Pastoral Assistants – have completed their three year
course of training at Saint Luke’s Home Education Centre and will be commissioned by Bishop Paul Colton tomorrow, Sunday, 21st October at Evensong in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork at 7 p.m.
Bishop Colton said
God calls all of us who are baptised to worship him and to serve both him and his people. It is vital that those who respond to this call are supported by the Church in their work and given the training and skills which they, and the people they will be working among, deserve. For us in this Diocese, the training of these lay workers has been undertaken at Saint Luke’s Home Education Centre under the oversight and tutelage of the Director of Education, Bruce Pierce.
This is the second group of Lay Pastoral Assistants to train and to be commissioned in Cork, Cloyne and Ross. The first group were commissioned in 2009 after their three years of training. This is a form of training and ministry that has been pioneered in Cork, Cloyne and Ross.
The journey to becoming an LPA began with an interview process. In year one of training (one evening a week) the focus was on the theory of pastoral care. In years two and three the students were in placements in parishes or an institutional setting (eg hospital or nursing home). The time in placements was spent reflecting on the experience of ministry. It was principally about integrating the various theories with the experiences of ministry they were having. The course also focussed on how our own story shapes our ministry. Special attention is given to the losses so many encounter (illness, grief, stillbirth and suicide) as well as the diversity of religious and spiritual responses in these and other caring situations. Throughout the course mentors have supported the students.
The Lay Pastoral Assistants being commissioned on Sunday are: Sidney Bradfield, Pat Culleton, Marjorie Garland, Sylvia Helen, Jennifer Kingston and Agnes Wilson. Two others journeyed with them in the training: Oke Odjegba who has emigrated to Texas, and Lisa Cotter who has deferred her commissioning until the next occasion.