NCRLC & St. Paul Seminary Host Rural Ministry Practicum
This past August, NCRLC and the Saint Paul Seminary teamed up, once again, to offer a Rural Ministry Practicum course to seminarian students. With the leadership of Jim Ennis, and NCRLC board member, Dr. Christopher Thompson, these aspiring priests engaged in an intensive week examining various areas of rural life.
Initially, the group spent some classroom time learning about Catholic social teaching as it relates to agriculture, rural communities, and creation. They also became aware of the mission and history of NCRLC. Guest speaker, Father Christopher Shofner, provided additional perspective and insight to rural ministry from his rural pastoring experience. To cap the week, the Practicum participants took a short trek to New Prague, Minn., to the dairy farm of Dave and Florence Minar to experience the rural setting. With added wisdom from Dr. Bernard Evans of St. John’s University, as well as from a lay leader in Hispanic ministry, plus group discussion, daily Mass, and personal reflection time sprinkled throughout, the Practicum provided the future priests with a new awareness of the rich and unique life that exists in rural communities.
“The Rural Ministry Practicum was an eye and heart-opening experience for me in many ways. The Practicum helped me to realize the interdependent roles of priests and laity within rural ministry. Through the steadfast efforts of NCRLC, thousands of lives have been positively impacted due to the valuable information that they have helped to promote and share about rural communities. I will be sure to utilize their excellent educational resources, God willing, in my future ministry.”
– James E. Peterson
“I came to a deeper understanding of what it means for Catholics to respect the earth and the environment. It was good to be reminded that there is a balanced, responsible way to go about this, and that the Church is concerned about these issues.”
– Joah Ellis