One of the primary tasks of a Catholic parish is the spiritual education and formation of all the parishioners. St. John and St. Joseph have a long history of providing religious education and Sacramental preparation to the Catholics of Jackson, and we are so proud to stand in that historical line of holy and talented people! Here is a very brief summary of some of the ministries and programs we have been able to provide this last fiscal year; thanks to your many volunteer hours, prayers and financial support.
Clare Kolenda (newly married, Clare DeWitt) has been our Youth Minister and Coordinator of Youth Faith Formation. Clare has overseen the steady growth of our High School Youth Ministry, which meets several times each month for Life Night meetings. Taking dozens of students to the summer Steubenville Youth Conference, Diocese High School Retreat Day and various social outings, Clare has been focusing in on true discipleship with several students, including a girls group she met with weekly at Lumen Christi.
Clare and our Coordinator of Sacramental Preparation, Angel Koerkel, joined a team for the various preparation of Sacramen
ts. 37 Second graders and their parents were readied for First Confessions and First Holy Eucharist with classroom visits, retreat days, practices and celebration of those Sacraments. 27 Middle Schoolers have been prepared for Confirmation with monthly Essential Meetings, a regional Confirmation Retreat, individual interviews and a session for parents. Angel has overseen the preparation for 11 engaged couples, 24 child Baptisms and 19 folks for RCIA.
For the various adult formation activities, we have a calendar FULL of activities! Weekly Catholic Community Scripture Study on Tuesdays, Women’s Discipleship Group on Thursdays, Sunday Gamma Group, Thursday ABLAZE Prayer Group, Catholicism 101 on Wednesdays and an Adult Religious Education class Sunday mornings. We have more than 30 people trained as Reach More Small Group leaders, with almost 100 people participating in the various Small Groups throughout the year. ALPHA runs two times a year to GREAT evaluations and has a few follow up meetings with Alpha Continued. Special events have included the HUGE Diocesan Assembly last September, with our three (so far) follow up meetings, a Lenten Series with Deacon Dave Etters, the Great Dads series ran throughout the year last year, two Kerygma Encounter retreats, a Holy Spirit Retreat day, a couple of special presentations by Joseph Gruber and we hosted an Encounter School of Healing event.
We had 111 students enrolled in Religious Education classed (CCD). We met every other week this year, but will return to weekly next year.
I meet with over two dozen people for Spiritual Direction. Also during this year we have been making plans to role out a structured Healing Prayer Ministry, expand Small Groups, offer Discipleship Quads, and focus on a Singles Ministry.
None of this would be possible without the many, many team members who help teach, prepare food, pray and do some of the heavy lifting!!