Is God Calling You to Ministry in the Church?06.30.17
Marti Shoemaker, a business owner, never envisioned being a caregiver for her mother if the need would arise. But as her mother eventually got to that point, Marti felt the Lord kneading her heart. She saw the lonely, hurting people in her mother’s nursing home that didn’t have the support that her mom did. “I knew then that ministry was something that I was ultimately called to,” recalled Marti.
So instead of working on her MBA, Marti is working on her Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry (MAPM) at the Athenaeum. She said, “I am realizing through our Catholic traditions, how rich and deep and beautiful the Church is. My experience is allowing me to be a better Catholic, and to fall more in love with Jesus, with my faith and with the Church.”
The Athenaeum has one of the most respected lay formation programs in the United States. Since the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program began in 1975, more than 850 students like Marti have graduated with an MA or a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry. The accredited institution also offers the MA in Theology, MA in Biblical Studies and MA in Catholic Studies, which prepare students to study and teach in these fields or to complete doctoral work.
For the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year, which begins August 23, the Athenaeum is extending its offer of 50% tuition reduction for lay students. This decrease is due to the generosity of area Catholics in the successful “One Faith, One Hope, One Love” campaign.
“I can’t say enough about the Athenaeum and its programs,” David Cooley, a Master of Arts in Theology graduate said. “The teachers are so knowledgeable and they are devout in their faith – they have a lot to share with the students. And everyone is so welcoming and helpful.”
Both degreed and non-degreed options are available at the Athenaeum’s main campus in Mt. Washington, as well as the ability to take single courses for credit, or to audit classes. A non-degreed certificate in Pastoral Ministry, taught at the undergraduate level, is available at the main campus and at satellite locations which rotate throughout the Archdiocese. During the next two academic years, the satellite locations will be at Sacred Heart Parish in McCartyville and at Good Shepherd in Montgomery.
Michael Miller, an MAPM student, encourages Catholics to enroll in a class or a program to deepen their faith, adding, “We take time to further our knowledge in our professional lives so why wouldn’t we want to do the same in our spiritual lives?”
The Lay Pastoral Ministry Program at the Athenaeum is both academic and formational. Students receive mentoring, participate in supervised field education and complete a capstone project to address a specific ministerial need in the community.
“My field education as a spiritual care minster in a hospital has opened my heart up,” said Marti. Prior to her studies, Marti said she would have certainly had sympathy for the patients, but now she can enter into their suffering and guide them in their relationship with the Lord. “It’s allowing God to work in my life in a way that I never knew He could,” she said.
Marti, who will enter the third and final year of her MAPM this fall said, “Caring for my mom humbled me. Before working on my degree, I looked at my responsibility for her as an obligation and then I realized that I wanted to care for her out of love. It’s the same thing with the Church. For a long time my association and dedication to the Church came from a sense of obligation. Now it comes from a feeling of love.”
Registration for the fall term begins July 3 and ends August 9. For information or to register, call the Athenaeum at 513-231-2223 or visit www.growinwisdom.org.
Photo Credit: Marti and her mom, Easter 2015. Marti’s mom passed away July 2015.