Catholics Seek to Enkindle Deeper Faith among Parish Community as Commissioned Lay Ecclesial Ministers


 Read how this program is helping people to rediscover Christ and God in their lives. 



During this Year of Faith, Cesar Gonzalez (pictured left), a parishioner of Most Precious Blood Catholic Church in Oviedo, was seeking a way to help his brothers and sisters in Christ discover or rediscover God in their lives.

A third year student in the Diocese of Orlando’s Commissioned Lay Ecclesial Ministry (CLEM) program, Gonzalez consulted with his pastor, Father Scott Circe, and decided faith based videos would help his parish community in their faith journey. So he set out to produce videos as the culminating project of the three-year study program with CLEM.

His project is called “5 Minutes for You and God: Media Catechesis” and his first video explores what Advent means to the youth of the parish. The video was shown prior to the start of Mass during the first weekend of Advent.

“The goal of the video is to awaken the parishioner’s curiosity in God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church and their faith,” Gonzalez said. “Only by our faith can we surrender our lives to God and his perfect revelation in the holy Eucharist. Then we can go out to the world and share his love and happiness to all those around us.”

Gonzalez is among the 19 men and women representing nine parishes, one mission and two diocesan entities, who have successfully completed the formation program and will be publically commissioned for service by Bishop John Noonan during Liturgy of the Hours, June 1, at St. James Cathedral in Orlando. Additionally this year, the diocese will commission its first Spanish-track class. The commissioning will be live streamed and can be viewed by clicking here.

tonyAngieHusband and wife team, Tony and Angie Morales (pictured right), parishioners of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Orlando, are participants in the Spanish-track class. Their third year project addressed strengthening multi-cultural marriages. They came up with the idea for their project, “2 Worlds, 1 Marriage: Addressing the need of Latino/ Anglo Couples,” while working with couples as part of the Renovacion Conyugal Orlando ministry.

For her portion, Angie Morales developed a one-day workshop that addresses cultural differences, whether they are from an Anglo/Hispanic union or from a Hispanic man or woman raised in the Anglo culture. The workshop presents lessons in spirituality, family life, communications, intimacy and the sacrament of marriage. Tony Morales’s project offers couples a follow-up to the workshop at the parish level. Working in a small-group setting, couples will explore the topics and process the information at a deeper level.

“I am proud of all of the candidates and their commitment to the entire CLEM process, especially the projects,” said Carol Stanton, co-director of the CLEM program. “They now know how to identify a need within the faith community and work with a parish team to respond to it. It is a great ministry skill they will be able to use over and over again to meet the needs of others.”

To participate in the CLEM program, students must be recommended by their pastors. Stanton and Society of the Precious Blood Father Ben Berinti co-direct the program. Stanton said students are already immersed in the ministries of their parishes, and their pastors see them as leaders of the Church who would benefit from theological education and ministry formation. During the final year of the program, students must complete a project that addresses a need within their parish.