Today I emailed my final paper to my final professor. No, not forever-final, just final for the semester. And with that email I ended my 4th semester of grad school and begin a blissful summer vacation. Well, I won't be on actual vacation, I will still be working, but no more pencils, no more books.... Oh that reminds me, I have to return my library books.
Today, too, we ended the "season" of Generations of Faith, our faith formation program. We had a really great year, focused on evangelization and discipleship, where our goal was to train a parish full of evangelists, as my pastor says.
We finished the series with a big commissioning, and a good old fashioned procession and crowning of Mary. The older people swooned over the processions and the kids had a great time waving the streamers and flags as we walked to the park. We had a great time, and the staff really felt like something great had been accomplished.
We're celebrating this happy ending by coming home early- we were home by 6:30- that NEVER happens on a Sunday night! Usually it's because we go out to dinner after Mass and whatnot... so it's not a negative thing to come home later on Sundays but it is a pretty cool feeling to be home this early, while the sun is still up. After a crazy-busy and crazy-happy weekend of near-constant running around we settled into our happy places for dinner, and after a half-hour of sitting I stood up and felt every muscle in my body! But it's a good feeling, it means I'm alive and doing good work.
After a few years of the whole community model of faith formation, I would surely have a hard time going back to the traditional classroom model. It amazes me that more parishes haven't had the courage to move over to this model, and let go of the bookkeeper/bouncer/policeperson role that DRE's and sacramental coordinators are forced to play now. It's hard- yes! It's hard! Shouldn't doing ministry, bringing people to Christ and vice-versa, guiding young people into better relationship with God and the Church, be worth working hard for?
Next year for my internship, I'll be working along these very lines- designing and facilitating workshops for DRE's, Youth Ministers, and Sacramental Coordinators to help them jump out of the rut and look at their roles from a new viewpoint. I can't wait to get started on it...