As the Director of Liturgy and Music Ministry at Our Lady of Hope in Port Orange, Daniel Weimer knows the importance of continuing education and learning within his ministry.
That became increasingly evident in 1998, when Weimer graduated from an extension program of the Loyola Institute for Ministry (LIM), offered by Loyola University New Orleans, La. Weimer chose to participate in the program because he was interested in energizing the liturgy at his parish as well as gaining a better understanding of theology.
“It was probably the best experience of my life,” Weimer said.
LIM presents graduate programs to lay people called to minister within the Church. These programs, which provide in-depth information and reflection for a variety of ministerial roles, are offered to those seeking a graduate degree or continuing education certificate. The extension program (LIMEX) allows individuals to take classes at a nearby parish taught by a local facilitator.
The Diocese of Orlando has been involved with LIMEX since 1985, and LIMEX has produced more than 200 graduates that serve as deacons, principals, lay ministers and other leaders throughout the diocese and beyond.
Basil Pflumm, who serves as the liaison between LIM and the Diocese of Orlando, works throughout the diocese to provide information on the programs. Some of the goals and objectives in creating awareness include running advertisements and speaking at parishes.
“We organize about six information nights at parishes a year in all deaneries,” Pflumm said. “We also believe that our graduates are the best way of getting the word out.”
Pflumm and his wife are LIMEX graduates. Pflumm said LIMEX is a great learning tool in strengthening one’s Catholic faith and ministry work.
“I have spent my working life as a professional military officer, accountant and auditor,” Pflumm said. “Each of those professions required deepening academic learning, experience and ongoing education. Lay ministry is no less deserving of intense development. LIMEX satisfies that need and delivers it to students in the context of their ministry as they enter ever more deeply into the mystery that is God.”
Weimer is one of approximately 10 LIMEX graduates – including Deacon Tom Tagye – currently serving at Our Lady of Hope Parish.
“Because my track was pastoral administration, it has made me a better liturgical minister to serve our community,” Weimer said. “It was a lot of work, but it was a great experience. It was a new journey of faith. I would recommend it to anyone seeking higher education.”
Sister of St. Francis Elizabeth Murphy, principal at St. John Vianney Catholic School in Orlando, is another LIMEX graduate; she received a Master’s degree in pastoral studies. She said the program has helped her bring people to God and God to the people.
“It has helped me with my own spiritual growth and knowledge base, and given me a new view on theology,” Sister Elizabeth said. “As principal of a Catholic school, Catholic identity is first and foremost, and I have to lead the way as a spiritual and academic leader. The study of Scripture has also deepened my own prayer life.”
LIMEX is funded in part through Our Catholic Appeal.
A reception for Loyola Institute of Ministry extension program alumni, as well as current and prospective students, will be held from 2-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, in the Cultural Center of Annunciation Catholic Church in Altamonte Springs. The event will allow people to explore ways in which the expertise and experience of these graduates might be maximized to offer greater service within the local church. Dr. Tom Ryan, Director of the Loyola Institute for Ministry, will be the main speaker.