Paul and I wanted to give the parish a quick update on some changes that are happening in high school ministry this year along with some personal life changes.
At the end of August, Paul and I started a Master’s program for Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids to work towards becoming licensed professional counselors. Paul actually shared this program with me in the early spring, encouraging me to think about applying, and then by the end of May both of us prayed, discerned it, and applied! Both of us have become very passionate about mental health within faith spaces (in our own unique ways) throughout our time in ministry. We are very excited to begin a new challenge and learn more about inner healing at a clinical level.
This is a new and demanding challenge that will take a lot of our time and energy, so Paul and I looked at our job responsibilities and discussed how to make school, work, and family life doable for the next three years. We discerned and prayed about these changes and came up with a realistic plan for the next couple of years. Beginning in August, I took over Confirmation preparation as well as our High School Religious Ed nights. This would normally be a huge undertaking, but since Paul and I have collaborated so much over the last couple of years I have been incorporated into each program in thought and implementation. Informally, I have been able to be a part of each program and I feel confident that I can take on these parts of ministry. Paul will continue directing religious education for 1st through 8th grade students as well as the RCIA.
Over the last couple years our High School Religious Ed and Confirmation programs have moved to different models in order to enable students to have more opportunities for encountering Jesus and receiving more accompaniment in their walk with God. Although these changes have mostly been within Paul’s position/responsibilities at the parish, Paul and I have brainstormed and worked together on implementing the changes in the programs. We have approached ministry as a team through the last couple of years and it’s been so rewarding to be able to collaborate with each other.
We appreciate the patience and the openness that parents and students have had with our changes and we are both looking forward to this upcoming school year with some optimism. We just ask that all of you pray for us in this transition in our work/personal lives. This is a huge change, so we ask for your patience and understanding during this transition. We are extremely excited to enter into a new phase of learning more about helping others heal and empowering them. I think this will only enable us to minister even more effectively to those in our parish as a whole.
Director of Youth Ministry
Director of Religious Education