Diocesan Pastoral Congress canceled

Friday, Sep. 04, 2020
Diocesan Pastoral Congress canceled + Enlarge
By Linda Petersen
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY – The diocesan Pastoral Congress, an annual event held in September, has been canceled this year due to pandemic conditions. 
The event normally draws more than 600 people from throughout the diocese, including people in the pews who are interested in adult faith formation, deacons, priests, catechists, youth ministry leaders and young adults.
“Managing that many adults in a sometimes very crowded classroom setting is not tenable at this time, as well as speakers are not traveling now,” said Susan Northway, director of the diocesan Office of Faith Formation. “Our look at this will be smaller opportunities and encouraging our catechists and others to access the resources online of many workshops that are being offered.”
Northway and Maria Cruz Gray, director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry, are the organizers of the Pastoral Congress.
One of the online resources Northway suggests is Magnify, a four-month program by the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership that explores the Directory for Catechesis. The program, some of which will also be available in Spanish, will kick off with a two-day virtual conference Sept. 18-19.  One-day virtual events will be held in October, November and December. 
Magnify will include keynote addresses from experts in the field, workshops on the Directory, and the sharing of different approaches that can be applied to a variety of ministry settings, along with opportunities for dialogue with presenters and other participants. For catechists, the program will fulfill continuing education certification requirements. Northway may be able to help directors of religious education who are interested in participating do so at a reduced cost. For information, visit https://nccl.org/2020/06/announcing-magnify.
Northway also encourages catechists to use resources from Catholic publishers RCL Benziger, Sadlier, Loyola Press and Our Sunday Visitor, along with the Congar Institute, all of which have been approved by Bishop Oscar A. Solis. 
In addition, Northway’s department can help sponsor online Congar Institute workshops for parishes.
“I’m real optimistic about getting through this, and I think we have to be very cautious and realize the health of everyone here is primary,” she said. “We can do a lot remotely, but we can also begin to open things up, as the bishop is asking.”  
Susan Northway may be reached at 801-328-8641.
For Spanish-speaking catechists, the Office of Hispanic Ministry is offering online classes for some Hispanic lay leaders to help prepare them “so, in the future, they can give the classes in their regions and in their parishes,” said Maria Cruz Gray, director of the Hispanic Ministry office.
In October, Ecos de Fe (Echoes of Faith) an NCCL Spanish-language program, will be held in the diocese. There will be limited in-person attendance.
“The catechisms classes will also be online; the practicum will be, hopefully, done in person,” Gray said.
Catechism is a priority, she said, adding that her door is always open and she is “looking forward to helping with the spiritual needs and growth of every Catholic in Utah.”
Intermountain Catholic reporter Laura Vallejo contributed to this article.

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