I left institutional church as a college freshman in 1968. Thirty or so years later, a young couple asked me to be their daughter’s godparent. I went to a class for godparents, and learned that I had to be a practicing Catholic to be a godparent. I returned to my local parish. Later, I became a member of the RCIA team. I felt inadequate as a facilitator. In 2008, I saw an ad in America magazine for on-line learning opportunities at the GSRRE. Initially, I enrolled in the Certificate in Faith Formation program. With Dr. Cataldo’s encouragement. I switched to the MA in Pastoral Care after taking her Psychology and Religion class. Fordham awarded me the MA in 2012. I concurrently completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education, which Dr. Cataldo also introduced to me. I became a certified Catholic chaplain in 2013, and work part time at the University of Oklahoma medical center in the Pastoral Care department. I am now living near the Fordham campus and finishing class work towards a DMin. in Christian Spirituality. I have the blessed opportunity to participate in a Practicum in Spiritual Direction this year. This ministry is a natural outgrowth of my experience and training as a chaplain: to explore deeply with another person the way that God loves them and is working in their lives. It is very gratifying and rewarding to apply the substantive knowledge of scripture, ecclesiology, history of Christian spirituality and reflective methodologies and techniques that I learned in my courses at Fordham in my chaplain work and in my new ministry as a spiritual director. I have the capacity to work with a few new directees and welcome inquiries from members of our community.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
In late September, our “Evangelization: Faith and Culture” class was honored to host Rev. Dr. Emeka Obiezu, OSA, as guest speaker. Fr. Obiezu, an Augustinian priest, is the author of Towards a Politics of Compassion: Socio-Political Dimensions of Christian Responses to Suffering, and the vice-chair of the NGO Committee on Migration at the United Nations. An experienced theologian and advocate for the wellbeing of migrants globally, he led the class in discussion of Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States, and in particular his address to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Fr. Obiezu suggested that Pope Francis’ approach to his pontificate was well-exemplified at the UN as the long-awaited enactment of the promise of the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church’s engagement with contemporary society, and as grounded theologically in Pope Francis’ “cosmic theological anthropology,” his understanding of humans as part of a network of life far beyond human and even planetary existence. From this vantage, the Christian sensitivity to incarnation, Fr. Obiezu emphasized, gains a profoundly relational, environmentally-aware, and cosmologically-aware feeling for reality and how to live in it. This discussion was a natural bridge to a class conversation about Fr. Obiezu’s book, which students had read in preparation for his visit. In Towards a Politics of Compassion, Fr. Obiezu argues from his Nigerian cultural perspective that compassion can be an effective vehicle for Christians to make the necessary changes in everyday life and social structures that are needed in Nigeria today. Compassion is grounded in human experience of sharing suffering with the other in a way that is also always caught up in a “politics” of response--such that real-world choices must be made about the effectiveness of expressing that compassion. Resources from the Catholic teaching tradition and from Nigerian religion and culture point to wise ways of being compassionate in a way that are true to human experience and effective for the social changes Nigeria needs. We were grateful for Fr. Obiezu so generously sharing his experience and work with us.