MINISTRIES FUNDED IN PART BY THE ANNUAL MINISTRY APPEAL
These centers provide a Church home away from home for college students, and provide most of the amenities of parishes. Most of all they provide students with access to a priest to hear confession, “rap” about the state of the world today, and maybe even help with a homework assignment.
Begun in 2002 to implement and support the Bishops’ Charter on Children and Young People, the US Church’s response to the child abuse crisis, this office continues to provide and oversee programs to fingerprint all adults given access to children on behalf of the Church and to train those adults (and the children they work with) on effective ways to keep our children safe.
“Formation” is the process of preparing a man to serve us as a priest. His preparation does not end with ordination, but continues throughout his life. It involves additional schooling and classes, spiritual formation with other priests, an occasional sabbatical for further study, etc.
This Office is responsible for interfacing the Church in Northern California with the public – both Catholics and non-Catholics. The Office publishes the newspaper, “North Coast Catholic”, maintains the Diocesan website, and interacts with members of the public media. This is truly about spreading the Good News.
Our 15 schools help prepare our children for their future. Even though parents are the first and most important teachers of their children, not enough can be said about the good done by our Catholic schools. We would like these schools to be more available to all the children of our Diocese.
Deacons are men called to an ordained life of service that falls short of becoming a priest. Deacons teach, preach, baptize, and witness marriages, but they do not say the Mass, hear confessions, or anoint the sick. Their primary charism is a call to be servants of all. Like priests, though, they need on-going training and education, and require time to reflect on their own spirituality.
Deacons are formed by a five year curriculum in theology, ministry, liturgy, and much more. They also are provided time to reflect spiritually as individuals and as a group. Their wives (most are married, but not all) take part in this training as well, to help ensure the family’s capacity to support this man as he takes on ministry on a more formal basis than he has done previously.
We do not exist in this world by ourselves, but must interact with people of all cultures, faiths, and religions. This Office exists to advise the Bishop and Pastors on better ways to accomplish this, to attend important gatherings involving people of multiple faith backgrounds, and to be a resource for the Diocese.
Our Diocese is nearly 50 % people of Latin extraction and whose primary language is Spanish. Their numbers are increasing faster than the growth of the area as a whole. It is very important that the Church be able to minister to them in their own language and from a basis of their culture during their time of transition to a new language and a new culture..
This rapidly growing community of consecrated women serves in our Chancery (Diocesan headquarters) and in our schools. They provide a direct link to our faith as it has been lived for centuries.
Organized Native American Ministry in our Diocese is focused on the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha mission at Hoopa. While a small group, these people have different struggles than some of us and require some specialized attention.
Our fifteen Catholic schools cannot possibly accommodate all the children in our Diocese, so most learn their religion at home and in parish based Religious Education programs, overseen and guided by the Office of Religious Education. This Office also supports adult programs like the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults found in almost every parish.
As Catholics, we believe in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. We oppose abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, and other practices that demean the value of anyone’s life. This Office helps our parishes and schools prepare parishioners and students to deal with these difficult topics in a secular world that can be hostile to these beliefs.
This Office recruits and trains volunteers to minister to the people who are incarcerated in our Diocese from the State Penitentiary system to local jails. They minister to the prisoners and to their guards and to the families of both groups. They cooperate with other support groups so that this experience is one of rehabilitation so that those incarcerated are prepared to re-enter society upon their release.
Seminarians are men who have already made a commitment to study for the priesthood, but who have not yet been ordained. We help pay for their education and we support them while they attend seminary.
Church law requires that the Bishop maintain a Tribunal (Court of Canon Law) to oversee the proper application of Church law in the Diocese. The most frequent encounter with the Tribunal for parishioners is in the Marriage Tribunal where applications for annulment of marriages are investigated, reviewed and decided. There are many other applications of Canon (Church) Law, however. Not every parish can have a Canon Lawyer, so this Office becomes very helpful to pastors.
Vocations may be calls from God to the priesthood, to the Diaconate, or to consecrated life (both religious sisters and brothers). This Office organizes ways to interest people (primarily young people) in these vocations and to discern whether they are experiencing such a calling from God. The Office assists them through that discernment process and helps them find their way into a seminary, a religious order, etc.
Our Young People and our Young Adults are our greatest resource. Youth Ministry is more than a Confirmation Preparation program and provides opportunities for young people to gather with others their age and to reflect on the role God plays in their lives and in their futures.