Pastoral Formation Learning Agreements
by Linda Showman
In addition to deacons and those in pastoral internship, an enthusiastic body of 132 seminarians is involved in pastoral formation at Mount Angel Seminary. 99 are at an on-site pastoral placement, 13 are involved in College One events, and 20 are engaged in hilltop ministries.
As College One students become accustomed to seminary life, they have two day-long opportunities to begin exploring their sense of service as a group endeavor. [Editor's note: visit this link for more about one of last year's opportunities]. Those with on-site placements set out weekly in small teams to supervised assignments which allow them to understand the relational nature of ministry and to develop the skills needed for service. Hilltop ministers are graduate seminarians who have considerable experience and who are honing their pastoral skills in a variety of ways in this community.
All of the seminarians are striving to integrate the pillars of formation - human, intellectual, spiritual, and pastoral - in a conscious and intentional way. Their primary tool for this is the Learning Agreement.
|Theology I seminarian Cody Ross of Seattle |
is first in line to submit his Learning Agreement to Pastoral Formation administrative assistant Nikki Martin.
The Learning Agreement has a vision of five goals: demonstration of personal and spiritual maturity, identification of call to ministry as rooted in baptism, integration of Catholic faith in ministerial work, engagement in ministry with sensitivity, and collaborative leadership with service. With an emphasis on virtue, each seminarian determines specific actions which will move him in the direction of these goals.
This a process that began August 30 with the Pastoral Formation Conferences, during which the seminarians reviewed the purpose and requirements of the program. At this time they received their assignments. Those with on-site placements then contacted their supervisors and attended an orientation.
They began going to their assignments on September 18 and had lunch with their supervisors on September 27. Finally, on Friday, October 12, after due deliberation and three weeks of actual experience at their site, the seminarians submitted their Learning Agreements. At the end of the semester the students will review their time in placement in both a self-evaluation and a theological reflection.