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  • TOTAL MINISTRY GUIDEBOOK

    FOR

    THE DIOCESE OF

    CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA

    We are partners in Christ with the love of God

    on our lips and in our lives.

    Revised April 2004

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    DISCERNMENT .........................................................................................................................................1

    HISTORY & STRUCTURE ......................................................................................................................... 12

    THE MINISTRY OF THE BAPTIZED .......................................................................................................... 21

    THE MINISTRY OF THE DEACON ........................................................................................................... 28

    THE MINISTRY OF THE PRIEST .............................................................................................................. 30

    THE MINISTRY OF THE BISHOP ............................................................................................................. 36

    EDUCATIONAL PREPARATION FOR MINISTRY ...................................................................................... 39

    RECRUITMENT ...................................................................................................................................... 44

    APPENDIX A ............................................................................................... THE BAPTISMAL CONVENENT

    APPENDIX B .................................................................................................. THE ORDINATION PROCESS

    APPENDIX C .................................................... GUIDELINES FOR SPONSORING CLERGY AND VESTRIES

    APPENDIX D ..................................................................... QUALITIES WE SEEK IN ORDAINED PERSONS

    APPENDIX E .................................................................................................................MINISTRY CANONS

    APPENDIX F .............................. THE RELATIONSHIP OF ORDAINED AND NON-ORDAINED MINISTRY

    APPENDIX G ............................................. INTERNSHIPS IN THE DIOCESE OF CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA

    APPENDIX H .....................................................................................................................................FORMS

    APPENDIX I ........................................................................................................................ RESOURCE LIST

    APPENDIX J ............................................................................................................................... GLOSSARY

  • 1

    DISCERNMENT Discernment is a process that allows us to distinguish between our own willfulness and God’s will; between our own self-defined purpose and God’s intended purpose for us; that is, God’s call to us to ministry.

    The verb discern comes from the Latin discernere, which means to separate or to distinguish accurately one choice, option or object from another.

    The process of discernment, when applied to Christian vocation (the Latin root is vocare, meaning to call,) is the process by which we bring clarity and insight to the ministry to which we are being called by God.

    The discernment process in terms of our calling (vocare) to ministry requires time and the intentional examination of our lives. See Appendices C and E for resource suggestions.

    Discernment is seldom a linear process that moves quickly or neatly and in an orderly fashion. Indeed the discernment process is a life-long journey that continues even after we have initially reflected upon the issue of vocation. Discernment is at the heart of everything we do in life.

    RESTLESSNESS VERSUS CALL “You, O God, have made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”

    Saint Augustine’s comment suggests that we are called by God toward God. In the process of creation itself, there is in every human being the imprint of God. Indeed, it would appear that God’s word is imprinted upon our very DNA, deep within our marrow and sown in our souls.

    The restlessness of which St. Augustine wrote is something that remains with us throughout our lives. This restlessness within us and this pull toward God are an essential part of our spiritual and psychological development process.

    This is not a restlessness that is necessarily resolved by obtaining status, prestige, power or wealth. It is essential as one confronts this restlessness that permeates much of our Christian journey that we distinguish between this attraction toward deeper communion with God (“our heart’s restlessness”) and a specific call to our ministry as baptized Christians. It is especially important not to confuse our inner restlessness with a call to Holy Orders.

    One of the gifts God gives us for discerning our “call” is the gift of community. Although it is God who calls us, it is in community that we learn to discern the difference between our spiritual restlessness and the ministries through which we are to serve God.

  • 2

    DISCERNING THE CALL WITHIN CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY It is in the Sacrament of Baptism that we embrace and are embraced by the community known as the body of Christ, the Church. Within this community, we are encouraged to engage in a discernment process to examine the nature and meaning of whatever Christian ministry to which we are being called.

    Discernment of Christian vocation, or one’s call, begins with the certainty that God calls every baptized person to ministry. Each Christian is called to be a witness of the Good News of Jesus Christ in both word and deed, proclaiming the Gospel through service to others in the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Through our Baptism, we come to understand that it is the body of Christ that nurtures and facilitates the process by which we discern the nature of our specific ministry. Within the framework of the Christian community, our discernment begins by examining and reflecting upon the promises we made in Baptism:

     Do I continue in the apostles teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers? In what ways?

     Do I persevere in resisting evil? When I fall into sin, do I repent and return to the Lord?

     Do I proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ in the various arenas of my life (workplace, social groups, home, civic organizations, etc.)?

     Do I seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving my neighbor as myself? In what ways?

     Do I strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being? In what ways?

    As we enter into dialogue about these questions with God and the community, we discover our particular strengths and weaknesses, our own gifts and shortcomings. We also begin to develop more clarity about the various ministries of God’s people, and our own ministry.

    As we attempt to discern our ministry, we need to do so within the full life of the Christian community.

    TO WHAT MINISTRY ARE WE BEING CALLED? Ultimately the question is not whether we have a definite ministry, for we are baptized into the ministries of the people of God. The question is “to what ministry are we each being called?” As we examine that question, we often enter into a period of great spiritual growth, especially if we remain in community and approach the process with humility and patience.

  • 3

    We are all encouraged to deepen and explore our spiritual life within this process of discernment. It is essential that anyone who engages the discernment process takes time to develop a disciplined spiritual life that is centered around:

    PRAYER Prayer is our personal conversation with God. Through silence and meditation, the Daily Offices, intercession and thanksgiving, we keep the channels open for the Holy Spirit to lead, direct, nurture and energize us.

    STUDY Through study we hear the ancient and contemporary stories of God working in the lives of people. Christian education is an essential component within the discernment process. Through study we deepen our awareness of and appreciation for God’s grace in our lives, and we are invited to hear God’s voice through history and tradition.

    WORSHIP In worship, we are strengthened and nurtured by God’s word and the Sacraments of the Church. Regular and full participation in corporate worship opens us to the gifts with which we have been blessed. Such gifts are what allow us to accomplish ministry.

    SERVICE When Jesus sent out the disciples, they did not know precisely what to expect in terms of their ministry. They met the needs of the people they encountered on the roads and in the small villages. By engaging in servant ministry that puts us on the sidewalks, takes us into hospitals, places us among the poor, and requires us to work, to feed, to shelter, to clothe, and to visit our neighbors who may be disadvantaged, we often are provided greater insight into the nature of the particular ministry to which God has called us.

    As we continues the process of discernment, it is important to:  seek the spiritual and pastoral counsel of clergy,  seek the spiritual and pastoral counsel of lay leaders within our community who are

    already engaged in intentional ministry,  pursue Confirmation if that has not a