By Kris Ivancic
TUPELO – What is your ministry? This is the first question students in the Loyola Institute for Ministry Extension Program (LIMEX) are asked. It is not always an easy question to answer. LIMEX can lead to a master’s degree or certificate in Pastoral Studies or Religious Education. There is also an opportunity to earn undergraduate credit, but is also an opportunity for personal growth.
In Mississippi, we are well aware of the need for laypersons to be prepared to assume ministry in their parishes. Tupelo St. James Parish will be sponsoring another LIMEX learning group, which will begin this fall.
There will be an information session on Sunday, Aug. 9, at 2 p.m. in Mary’s Room of the Catholic Life Center at St. James. Call Lee Oswalt at 662-322-3741 or Kris Ivancic at 662-791-9643 if you have questions. You can also go online to http://lim.loyno.edu.
In “Called and Gifted,” the U.S. Bishops stated, “Baptism and confirmation empower all believers to share in some form of ministry. Although the specific form of participation in ministry varies according to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, all who share in this work are united with one another.” This document really speaks to the call to all the faithful to participate in the ministry of the church in some way. LIMEX is designed to equip everyone to respond to God’s call in their life. Ministry is not just about teaching religious education or being a lector at Mass. Certainly, those are ministries, however; ministry does not just exist within the liturgy or even the parish. Ministers function in the workplace, with certain groups, in volunteer organizations — everywhere. Christianity is not a spectator sport.
Here are some former students’ reflections on their LIMEX experience:
“The LIMEX course, especially the group setting, provided the opportunity for service which has made a major life difference for me. It was fun getting a masters degree from a university before setting foot on the campus, but the important factor was the opening for deeper ministry and service to God.”
“I began the LIMEX process for my own self-edification and maybe to help with my role as catechist. I was expecting a completely ‘college-like’ experience, but LIMEX is more than that. It is a faith-sharing experience that has deepened my understanding of ministry and, hopefully, has made me a more effective minister.”
If you are feeling God calling you to deeper participation in His work, maybe LIMEX is for you. So—what is your ministry?
(Kris Ivancic is a lay minister at Tupelo St. James Parish)
By Kris Ivancic