On parish staffs, there is often a faith formation director. I suspect these persons are almost as numerous as pastors-in-residence these days. The titles vary, but adult formation often comes under their supervision. Some very large parishes have a person dedicated more or less exclusively to post-confirmation efforts.
The US Bishops, in Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us, look to The Adult Faith Formation Leader, however parishes address the person having this role. They state, “Each parish will designate an adult faith formation leader—authorized by the pastor and personally involved in ongoing formation—to assume primary responsibility for implementing the ministry of adult faith formation.” (135)
This person might be full-time and exclusive, or a part-time non-paid leader, but the bishops seem to think someone in every parish needs a “lead agent … (someone with) time, energy, and commitment.” (Ibid.)
What are the expectations?
- the person have or acquire an adult catechetical vision and competency,
- be formed by the word of God,
- and be well versed in and comfortable with current catechetical documents, especially the Catechism and the General Directory for Catechesis.
Some realistic cautions are added. If the “lead agent” has other responsibilities, adult formation shouldn’t be “shortchanged.” If the person is a parishioner, they should have a staff liaison. (137) If the person needs formation themselves, the parish should provide it. (138) Collaboration and teamwork with other staff members is important (139, 141) as is working with a team of parishioners. (140)
As with the pastor’s role (127-134), some indicators of fruitfulness are given? Check your parish for alignment on these:
- The parish designates a staff person or qualified lay parishioner as the adult faith formation leader (138).
- The leader advocates for the primacy of adult faith formation in the parish.
- The leader promotes the development of an effective adult faith formation team.
- The leader works with other parish ministers to promote cohesive, effective adult faith formation programming.
What do you think? Is your parish still stuck with kids and teenagers?