Most of you know that I have been earning my Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry for almost 4 years now. It has not been easy going back to school, while raising a family and working full-time. Yesterday, I submitted my 40 page capstone paper. I have held a 3.8 throughout the entire program. If I receive a passing grade on the paper I will graduate! It will probably be January before I receive a grade for my paper. At that point I will re-write or I will celebrate! The following is the closing paragraph of my paper. It tells all about what I learned from the program.
The LIMEX program has enlightened my knowledge of the Catholic faith, tradition, institution, culture, and set my soul on fire to bring teens closer to God. This journey has been an extremely long one, lived along-side my first days as a teacher to my last. As I struggled to learn how to teach, I became a student as well. I learned the story of Christianity, gained an insight for common themes in the Scriptures and, learned how to do an exegesis and how our faith is rooted in Jewish culture. I grew to understand the foundational concepts of grace, salvation, sacramental awareness, and relationships with God, self, others, and creation. I took a deeper look into the history of the Church, and its sacraments and liturgies. I discovered a depth about my leadership abilities and how to perceive and work with leaders of other personalities and understandings. I was able to explore the institution I teach within, root out the power players, and view the realities of my school and the culture. I was exposed to the sad truth about my students’ economic and faith disparities and empathize with their everyday lives. I read about snapshots of saints, and leaders of the Catholic faith who gave me courage and encouragement to be a vessel for God’s will for my life. The past four years of education and understandings have influenced my teaching and views of the world and Christianity, as well as set me on a new path towards spiritual direction. I began to pray as Loyola Ignatius taught, and learned in a more concrete way how to be detached from everything but the will of God. I gained new insight, understanding, a process to test any situation, an ability to teach, and the inspiration to aspire to be a saint. This program has changed who I am as a person. It has allowed me to grow mentally, academically, and spiritually into a fuller child of God. It has afforded me the opportunity to explore and understand that my ministry is less about teaching and more about fostering and deepening relationships with my students, coworkers, others, myself, God and all of creation. Those relationships are the core of my ministry at work in the kingdom of God here on earth.