Office to serve parishes, families in daily life

At the Convocation last summer, from left to right: (front row) Bill Francis, Annette Weeks, Norma Molina, Katrina Even, Fr. Jorge Moreno, Michael Nations, (back row) Marc Cardaronella, Fr. Andrew Mattingly, Dino Durando, Bishop James V. Johnston. Not pictured, Miguel Salazar. (Dino Durando/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr. has announced the creation of the new diocesan Office of the Domestic Church and Discipleship which will better serve parishes and families as they daily go about their Christian lives.

Picture in your mind a large umbrella with six ribs spreading the canopy. The canopy is named the Office of Domestic Church and Discipleship and in the spaces beneath it and between the ribs are the Offices of Catechesis and Faith Formation; Hispanic Ministry; Youth Ministry; Young Adult Ministry; (College) Campus Ministry and Marriage and Family Life.  Formerly working together but independent of each other, all six offices now work in conjunction with each other to the same goal: discipleship in the laity.

Each office has its own director and staff, with Bernardino (Dino) Durando, Director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life recently appointed Director of the Office of the Domestic Church and Discipleship, which governs all the rest. Its focus will be the pastoral concerns of the Christian household in its various forms and formation for a life of discipleship throughout all stages of life.

As the bishop reflected on the past two years of his episcopal ministry and pastoral experience within this diocese, he also considered the ongoing assessment of local and national research and best practices in the creation of the new office of Domestic Church.

The term “Domestic Church” was highlighted at the Second Vatican Council in both Lumen gentium (On the Church), the dogmatic Constitution of the Church, and Apostolicam actuositatem (The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity). The apostolate (evangelization activities) of married persons and families is of unique importance to both the Church and to civil society.

Durando explained that the groundwork is being done now, beginning with 10 listening sessions throughout the month of July at various geographic locations within the Diocese. The sessions will be under the bailiwick of a visioning leadership team led by Bishop Johnston. The listening sessions, a chance for all who want to speak about what they need from or hope for the Church to be heard, are intended to lead to the drafting of a vision statement. Durando said the vision statement will contain three main priorities and two goals for each priority.

The office’s emphasis, he said, is to help the bishop govern the diocese through the connections with and support of various parish leaders, including pastors, parents and organizers. The office will strive to empower the leaders to better serve those they serve.

For example: The Office of the Domestic Church will “work with school principals and teachers in their ministry which will in turn trickle down to the students, helping them do better” and achieve success, by which the teachers and principals with be successful in their mission.

“Educational and work experiences are ways we form ourselves as we work toward orienting all our work toward discipleship,” Durando said. “Working with parish youth ministers and Directors of Religious Education, with increased emphasis on the importance of mentors to support our faith lives, we will strive to make disciples for the Domestic Church.”

The Office of the Domestic Church is made up of the Office of Catechesis and Faith Formation, directed by Marc Cardaronella, with Norma Molina as associate director and Jerri Dowdy as administrative assistant; the Office of Hispanic Ministry, directed by Miguel Salazar; the Office of Youth Ministry, directed by Michael Nations with Katie Daughtrey as office assistant and Edith Montes as Pastoral Juvenile Coordinator; the Office of Young Adult Ministry directed by Father Andrew Mattingly with Lilly Tighe as administrative assistant; the Office of (College) Campus Ministry, directed by Father Mattingly, with Campus Ministers Michael McCormick, Max Pawlowski and Leeds Haroldson, and the Office of Marriage and Family Life, directed by Durando with Kristen Marquis as office manager.

Marc Cardaronella said the Office of the Domestic Church began slowly forming last year when the-then independent offices began meeting collaboratively to ensure a seamless integration. “With this new administrative structure, it is really good to integrate everything we do.”

He said the Office structure created a path for seamless discipleship from early childhood — the work of the Office of Catechesis and Faith Formation — through youth —the work of the Office of Youth Ministry — through college and young adulthood — the work of the offices of (College) Campus Ministry and Young Adult Ministry — reaching those of Hispanic heritage from youth on — the work of the Office of Hispanic Ministry —through adulthood, marriage and family — the work of the Office of Marriage and Family Life. The collaborative work the staff does supports parishes and schools in their work of evangelization, catechesis and pastoral service.

Cardaronella said the goal of discipleship is the interior conversion of people in the parishes and the formation of a spiritual community, with charisms and sharing.

Comparing discipleship to a familiar entity, a baseball diamond, he explained it as three-fold:

• Conversion leads to commitment and the practice of faith,

• Committed Christian foundation of spirituality,

• Sharing — Spreading the Word — Serving others.

“This Office of the Domestic Church and Discipleship will work to build up the people on the inside so they can go outside and bring others inside,” Cardaronella said.


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November 01, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph