(3) Developing Maturing Adult Ministries in the Parish

Maturing Adult Ministry
Toolkit #3
Developing MAM in the Parish

        Parishes are invited to develop structures which encourage and facilitate the contributions of their older parishioners, respond to their needs and provide opportunities for spiritual growth. 
        MAM is also intended to continue to call for the gifts of the mature adults for the benefit of the parish community.
        Current parish programs in place would be expanded to meet these needs and provide the opportunities.
        Pastoral responses are needed in the following areas:
                        Spiritual/sacramental
                        Pastoral care/service
                        Emotional/psychological
                        Community/social
        Your parish may already address some or all of these areas.  This office would be interested in learning of any experience in this area with the idea of sharing best practices.

       5 frameworks are proposed for the planning of activities in answer to the pastoral responses mentioned:
                       Spirituality activities and offerings
                       Faith formation and education programs
                       Service projects
                       social activities
                       intergenerational activities

        Spiritual/sacramental needs could be met though various activities including, but not limited to:
                       Liturgy
                       Sacraments of Healing
                       prayer groups
                       scripture study
                       retreats
                       days of reflection; monthly or seasonal
                       small, faith-based communities
                       spiritual direction
                       book clubs
                       faith sharing


         Pastoral Care/service:  Our older parishioners often have a wealth of experience, spiritual resources, skills and time which enable them to be providers of, not just recipients of pastoral care.  Parish leaders of MAM will be instrumental in linking them with the wider parish community.
                      Prayer ministry
                      ministries of consolation
                      outreach to those in nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living
                      parish/regional schools
                      faith formation programs
      Above are general suggestions of areas of service; individual parishes may identify needs specific to the local parish.

       Emotional/psychological concerns at this stage of life often revolve around loss.  Parishes, alone or in concert with others, can offer seminars and workshops focusing on key life issues, e.g.,
                      anxiety
                      depression
                      stress
                      isolation
                      unemployment
                      financial planning
                      loss
                      aging
                      wellness
                      healthcare laws & insurance
                      end of life issues

       Community/social needs opens up the other 3 areas.  The local faith community can be a fertile ground where life-giving friendships blossom.  It is natural to seek out relationships with peers; however, in the parish, a family of families, everyone can benefit from intergenerational connectivity.  Parish leaders can provide both intergenerational and peer-group activities which will foster relationships.

Contact Information:
Mary Lou Hughes
Associate Director
Office of Lifelong Faith Formation
Faith & Family Life
(856) 583-6132