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Contemporary Catholic Belief and Action

 

The mission of ARCC is to bring about substantive structural change within the Catholic Church by seeking to institutionalize a collegial understanding of church where decision making is shared and accountability is realized among Catholics of every kind and condition.
 
Once people start to believe change is possible, 
the drive to achieve it accelerates. 
                                          -   Patrick Sullivan, ARCC President
 
 
 
A Personal Ministry Experience
 
 

Monica Edgar

 
Monica is a graduate of the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, CA.
 
 
Upon graduating from the Franciscan School of Theology, I was very excited to be a future leader in the Catholic Church, the place I called home. Yet as a young woman in a setting in a small Northwestern city, I was unaware of the struggles and disappointments that were to come in the days and years ahead.
 
           FST’s mission was “to prepare women and men for professional ministry in the Roman Catholic Church, for careers in theological education, and for living a life dedicated to solidarity with those on the margins of society and the Church in the knowledge of Christian faith.” Through my classes, liturgies, internships with the sick and broken, along with daily interactions with faculty, staff, and students, I had been prepared for a career in ministry. Hope was on the horizon and the future looked very bright.
 
           I married a wonderful man and found myself moving to the Northwest, a very different lifestyle from the Bay Area, but a great place to raise a family. My first job that I found was not in ministry, but rather in administrative support for the State. I volunteered at my local parish, at first in youth ministry, and this led to a part time position. I soon realized, however, that I could not handle both jobs at once along with my personal life. Thus, I began to volunteer in both liturgy and adult education at my parish. I was using my gifts and my connections to my parish community and God deepened.
 
           A year or so later, the Director of Faith Formation position at my parish opened and I decided to apply, very excited at the prospect of a full-time position in ministry. I realized that I did not possess a lot of on-the-job experience as I had started my graduate journey shortly after obtaining my undergraduate degree in Religious Studies but decided I wouldn’t know unless I tried. I was called for an interview and went into my interview quite confident. However, after the interview, I called my husband in tears … I felt as though I had been raked over the coals for not having the specific experience which the hiring panel sought. The theological education and training in ministry I possessed had been dismissed and thrown out rather abruptly. My dreams had been shattered and my spirit took a major blow.
 
           In the years to come, I have worked various administrative support jobs in both the private and public sector. I also, more importantly, have become a mother to two amazing children. The journey of motherhood has been life-changing for me and I know God has truly blessed me. Yet, I have still felt the call to ministry in a professional capacity. 
 
           Two years ago, my parish had another vacancy, the Office Manager position. I was very excited, yet again, about this prospect and proceeded to revise my resume and prepare for an interview. I did have two interviews for the position, which I thought went very well. However, another candidate was chosen. It took me some time to be able to come back to my parish as again the rejection was difficult, even though I knew I could not take it personally. I knew the ins and outs of parish life, as well as administrative support and thought I would have brought so much to the position, able to better serve my parish.
 
           Recently, I have come back to my parish and was welcomed with open arms. I still am not sure exactly where I fit. The journey has not been an easy one, but I had learned much about life along the way. From the disappointments and hurts, growth can indeed take place as roots are strengthened and laid down. One of my grandmother’s favorite sayings was “Bloom where you are planted.” I hope that I have embraced this and will continue to do so in the months and years ahead. I also hope that I will one day find a position in the Church where I am fully able to flourish.
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