“As a priest and pastor, what can I do for my Family Life or Marriage Ministry Director?”
If this is a question you have asked yourself in the past, then you are on the right track! It is not a secret to anyone that Family Life Directors are not only busy, but they are also tired and burned out. They are, after all, human!
In recent years, especially during and after the pandemic, ministers in the Church have been asked to do more with less. They have had to take on more responsibilities, do more work, be more creative, and work more hours. On top of this, they are working with fewer resources, a smaller staff, and reduced budgets.
As a priest and pastor, have you asked yourself what this situation created in the life and ministry of your Family Life Minister? Have you had a chance to speak openly to your Director of Family Life about these issues?
We at The Marriage Group, as your partners in mission, want to offer you some ideas that might help your Family Life Minister stay engaged in the mission and vision you have for the parish.
A day (or two) of personal retreat might be what your Family Life Director needs. Going away to pray, rest, and get re-energized is always a good thing! A personal retreat is an opportunity to take some much-needed time away to obtain a better perspective on everything that keeps us busy.
Most of us never do it!
Ask your Family Life Director, “When was the last time you went on a personal retreat?”
This is not a retreat that they organize for people in the parish, but a personal retreat where they themselves are the recipients.
Day of Reflection
A Day of Reflection is an opportunity for ministers to attend a professional presentation on a topic that is beneficial to them not just in their professional life but also in their personal life. Invite them to take advantage of the opportunities that your diocese may offer.
You can also look for these opportunities taking place at Catholic colleges/universities or seminaries. Listening to a great presentation gives ministers food for thought, and it also gives them the opportunity to share with other lay ministers in the area.
Connection With National/Local Organizations
There are so many benefits to belonging to a local or national Catholic organization! Ministers need to connect with their peers to hear and see what is working in other areas of their city/state/country. Best practices are shared freely by those attending local and national conferences. It happens naturally over coffee, lunch, or dinner. Newsletters, Zoom/video conferences, and webinars, are all ways to stay connected at the local and national level with other ministry professionals.
Healthy and Open Conversations
Staff meetings are NOT the place where your staff will share their personal struggles. Have regular conversations (yes, just a conversation) with your Family Life Director, and ask him/her, “How are YOU doing? What are your struggles?” and then just listen. Open your heart and be present.
These are just some examples of what you can do to help your Family Life Director stay engaged with the mission and vision you have for the parish. You, as the pastor, have the capacity to empower your staff and to help them stay focused, and the best way to do it is by spending time with them.
We want to help! Please let us know how we can assist you in this task. We are, after all, your companions in mission!
Got a minute? Please watch the following video for a personal message from Claudio Mora, Director of Catholic Programs: