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Archives Formation for Ministry bolstered faith and marriage

April 28, 2021

By Jessica Hargrave
Contributing Writer

ADAMS – What’s meant to be will always find a way.

Kevin and Maryann O’Rourke had been wavering on whether to go through the Diocese of Ogdensburg’s Formation for Ministry program for quite a while. It was when they heard the 2019-2021 program would be held at their home parish of St. Cecilia’s Church in Adams that they thought the timing was perfect.

Father Martin E. Cline, then pastor in Adams, reached out to Kevin to see if he had interest in the program, but after talking with his wife, Maryann, they decided to do the program together.

“We have always found strength in each other when we pray together and this could only strengthen our faith and marriage,” said Maryann.

Much of the two-year program is now online to accommodate busy schedules and to afford more flexibility except for in-person workshops in Tupper Lake and retreats twice a year. The courses explore the core foundations of the Catholic Faith including the Eucharist, the history of the Church, and Catholic social teaching, which opens meaningful discussion amongst program candidates.

The couple agrees the courses expanded on their knowledge of the faith.

“When you think you know everything about your faith, you go through the Formation for Ministry program and find out that there is a lot more to learn about your faith. We always say that we are all a work in progress,” Maryann admitted.

The program going completely online took some adjustment, but Kevin and Maryann feel the online discussion allows people to feel more comfortable to open and share than in an in-person group setting and creates a sense of community. Candidates can build on those friendships when they finally see and speak face-to-face at the workshops.

“Meeting and bonding with our classmates was very rewarding. It was great being able to share our faith stories with one another,” said Maryann.

The O’Rourke’s believes the program enriched their marriage and allowed them to dig deeper into their Catholic Faith.

“We have always found it rewarding and intimate when we share our faith openly with each other,” Maryann said. “After almost 33 years married, we tend to take each other for granted. Taking this course as a couple, has reenergized not only our faith but our marriage.”

Kevin and Maryann will be Commissioned Lay Ministers this June when they will receive a blessing from Bishop Terry R. LaValley and their certificates. The COVID-19 vaccine has made them both optimistic and excited to pursue their ministry in family outreach and hospitality and look of forward to reaching out to get their church families back in the pews.

Registration for the 2021-23 Formation for Ministry program is now open.

If you believe you are called to serve your parish as a commissioned lay minister, you are encouraged to discuss it with your pastor.

If your pastor agrees your gifts are needed, contact Formation for Ministry Director Cathy Russell at crussell@rcdony.org or call (315) 393-2920.


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