Message from the Most Reverend Benedict (Aleksiychuk),
Bishop of St. Nicholas Eparchy, to the faithful,
on the establishment of the Mission Institute.
As good stewards of the manifold grace of God,
each of you should use whatever gift
he has received to serve one another.1 Pet. 4:10
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today I turn to the good Lord with gratitude and appreciation for each and every one of you, because the good Lord has given you a gift of life and a gift of talent that belong only to you. Every one of you has a unique mission in life that must be achieved before our eternal passing. Each and every one of you has been called by Jesus Christ to serve in our parish community – to assist the priest, to assist one another and by doing this we fulfill the could of Christ because we live according to the two Commandments of Love.
As Christians, we must always follow and grow with the Love of God towards ourselves and the ones around us. The closer we are to Jesus Christ, the better we understand our calling and mission in life, and we also realize the good we do not only for ourselves but the ones around us while serving the parish community with the gifts we received from Jesus Christ. We are all very different, we have different views on life and different beliefs, but at the same time, we are all drawn into one parish family that is filled with Christ’s Love. As the Apostle, Paul said: “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, so in Christ, we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another. We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If one’s gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith; if it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is giving, let him give generously; if it is leading, let him lead with diligence; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Rom. 12: 4-8).
According to the Apostle Paul, we see that not only the priest, but every parishioner is called to serve the parish in order for it to grow. For this very reason, a Mission Institute has been established within the Eparchy, which should help us grow as individuals and for better awareness and understanding of the uniqueness of its calling of each and every one of us to develop the talents within ourselves. This Institute is open to anyone who wants to enrich their faith, their knowledge, especially in order to better serve the good Lord and the parish community. Throughout the course of study, each participant will have the opportunity to immerse himself with knowledge of Jesus Christ – will gain knowledge of theological studies, throughout the works of the Holy Fathers, the history of the Church, and obtain experience throughout meeting with unique individuals.
If one has a gift of teaching and leadership, then he or she might join the catechetical and Christian community leadership program – within the program, the individual can learn how to educate children, young adults, newly-married couples, seniors, and how to organize various Catholic events. If one feels the calling of vocation, then that person might choose a Deacon training program. If one feels that God has endowed him or her with a good voice and hearing – then he or she can choose a program for cantors to perfect his or her talent and praise the good Lord through singing, but also there is a possibility to study in two or all three programs at once. If someone is searching within oneself and wants to find spiritual support, he or she must choose a priest who will assist him in a deeper knowledge of the good Lord.
The whole curriculum will be based on evangelism where the individual will learn to grow with the good Lord and share faith with others. We always have to remember to pray, continue to work on ourselves, enrich our souls with positive reinforcement as we carry out a “mission” in life; we need to learn how to help people find their way to God.
The curriculum will last for four years – during this time 20 foundation courses will be covered as well as subjects which are related to the core courses of your field of study. Each subject will be four credit hours - the education will be based online, scheduled on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Central Saving Time. If it will be more convenient, we will agree on a mutual time to reschedule. All students of the program will receive relevant material that must be read, listened to, and viewed in advance – this will create a better understanding of the material to be covered during the lecture. The most important aspect of the Mission Institute is the takeaway after the courses are completed.
Within a year there should be one or two physical meetings (depending on the number of attendees), and all the other lectures will be conducted online. Every month there will be an online conference with spiritual leaders who will share their experience of missionary and evangelization in order to enrich the person’s understanding of the Mission Institute and the material that will be covered.
There are also courses available for those individuals who wish to obtain a missionary and evangelistic formation in order to deepen their theological knowledge and complete the entire 4-year course of study without choosing a specific point of interest.
The courses will be taught in both languages English and Ukrainian (depending on the student’s preference). Tuition will cost $900.00 a year and there are three sources of funds: the Eparchy will cover ($300.00), the parish to which the student belongs to will cover ($300.00), and the student will cover ($300.00). Please keep in mind that the Mission Institute is also open to students who are in need of tuition assistance. If you are in need of tuition assistance, please describe your financial situation in great detail and apply for a scholarship.
The first year at the Mission Institute will be dedicated to the faith of the Church.
During this year, the following will be covered:
- Dogmatic Theology
- Patristics (teaching of the Church Fathers)
- Religious Studies
- Ecclesiology and ecumenism (teaching about the Church and oneness)
- Fundamentals of Christian Spirituality
- Catechists will cover pedagogy and psychology.
- Deacons and subdeacons will cover the history and practice of cantor.
- Optional course – media in Church life.
The courses begin in October.
ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR CATHECHITIES:
- Enrollment into the Mission Institute for a Catechist is based on the results of the interview, but specifically on the knowledge of the fundamentals of the Christian faith.
ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR DEACONS AND SUBDEACONS:
- Enrollment into the Mission Institute for a deacon or a subdeacon is based on the result of collaborative work as well as knowledge of musical data and fundamentals of the Christian faith.
DOCUMENTS/REQUIREMENTS NEEDED FOR ENROLLMENT:
- A letter of intention
- Oath (below is a sample)
- Completed questionnaire (below is a sample)
- A detailed biography
- High school, College, or University transcripts
- Copy of the Baptism Certificate
- Copy of the Holy Matrimony Certificate (if married)
- Passport picture (4 copies)
- Letter of recommendation from the Pastor
- Letter of recommendation from one of the fellow parishioners on behalf of the applicant
- Every applicant must have an established legal residency within the borders of the United States
Throughout the four years of education, catechists will receive a certificate of completion after each year that will entitle them to learn catechism over the next years of study. Upon completion of the Institute, all students will receive a certificate of completion as well as a thesis statement. The Bishop ordains those who joined the Deaconate program; gives a certificate and a legal right to cantor those who completed the cantor program, and the catechists receive a canonical order from the Bishop to catechize the Parish to which they belong.
The thesis statement should not only be theoretical, but it should also be practical. It should take the Mission component into consideration some of the ideas for the thesis statement are: creating a Mission committee within the parish, create a mission for the parish, form a choir for various parish communities, create a charity fund, create a catechetical school for the parish, create a parish website, etc. Towards the end of the program, students must have the thesis statement completed as well as the working project.
Dearly beloved, I have great faith and desire for the Mission Institute in order for you to grow and develop as an individual with the good Lord by your side.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Be courageous, do not be afraid to try something new
especially if it is to strengthen us in Jesus Christ!
Bishop of St. Nicholas Eparchy
St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy