Author Archives: webadmin

Families Traveling the Trail to Sainthood

On two evenings in early November, the families of the children in Religious Education grades 1-6 at St. Joseph, Somers Point, came together for an interactive, intergenerational learning experience called the Trail to Sainthood. The religious education program at St. Joseph is a traditional classroom based program, but Jackie Baum, CRE, occasionally providing some new intergenerational programs for the families of the religious education students.

Each of the families came on just one night- their regular night for religious ed. classes. Families were notified well in advance so that parents knew and were prepared to stay for the whole event with their children. Instead of a regular class session, the families stayed for about 3 hours for this special event. There were approximately 35 people volunteers who played saints or took other parts in the 4 different sections of the event. Each event took place in a different room. Families spent about 30 minutes in each of the four sections. 

During the Living Tour of the Saints families took a tour through the church visiting about 16 saints. Each saint, dressed accordingly, spent two minutes talking about their lives and then handed out a small token for the families to remember them. St. Peter gave each person a Swedish fish, and St. Bernadette gave out bandaids to represent healing. The one exception was St. Vincent de Paul, who collected canned goods from his visitors.

In another room, a reporter from I Witness News, a production of station WCOS (Communion of Saints) conducted Interviews with the Saints. After the reporter finished interviewing the 8 or 9 saints present, the kids had a chance to ask some of their own questions.


Everybody needs a snack break, so why not Dine with the Saints? In an excellent show of hospitality, St. Julian greeted families as St. Martha and St. Elizabeth of Hungary served up refreshments.

Sr. Dot Urban, SSJ, Pastoral Associate at St. Katharine Drexel parish, was the featured guest speaker of the night. Her talk on the Trail to Sainthood emphasized that we are all living saints, but that these special people we call “Saint” have led extraordinary lives. As a result of the lives they led, these people were recommended for sainthood. Sr. Dot explained to the families present the steps in the canonization process.

In the past, there have been Advent and Lent events for religious education families at St. Joseph. For those events, the parents only participated in the first half, and came back after the second half to pick up their children. This is the first time parents were asked to participate through the whole event. The Trail to Sainthood is new this year and because of all the positive feedback, Jackie says there will likely be a similar event planned next year. St. Joseph’s Religious Education program is working on making a transition from the traditional classroom model to an intergenerational model.

If you are interested in planning a similar event, you can contact Jackie for more information at or 609.927.3302×24.

Families clap as Saints Juan Diego, Peter, Vincent de Paul, Cecilia and others process into the church.

December Life and Justice Ideas

Advent Greetings!

As the warmth of Thanksgiving continues, let us take a moment to pause and reflect on the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.  This past weekend, we also entered a new liturgical year and the Advent season provides us with an opportunity to prepare our hearts for Christ’s coming.

On behalf of the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation and the Life & Justice area, under Larry DiPaul’s direction, I send a few additional points to ponder and share with your parish community this Advent/Christmas Season.  Please consider including one or all of the topics below in bulletin announcements, or share the list on your website, Facebook or Twitter accounts.  In the midst of life, our church year provides us an opportunity to recall that we too are called to be Jesus in a world looking to experience Him.

Advent Ideas for Families – taking advantage of gift giving and the opportunity to highlight things families could do together this season. 

  • Draw on current news stories and relate social teachings to the issues and decisions.  Discussion of issues such as violence, war, abortion, racism, immigration, the environment, bullying and the death penalty are important.

The Archdiocese of Minneapolis has a website that may help provide discussion starters: 

  • When donating to a food drive, explore with the family the issue of hunger.
  • Develop Family Community Day – a day of service to the community in which everyone has an opportunity to care for those in need.

Here are some possible suggestions in the Camden & Bridgeton areas, however; there are so many places throughout the diocese that families may volunteer. One could first check with their local nursing home about volunteering.

New Visions Community Services of Camden
Contact person:  Kevin Moran
Phone:  (856) 963-8726
City of Camden

This is a shelter for the homeless.  If parents are comfortable, it’s actually a good place for kids. The folks there really love to see and interact with children. Families can help prepare meals, serve food, and chat with guests. At times, they also use help sorting clothes and cleaning etc.

Genesis Elder Care
Contact person:  Diane Dalessandro
Phone:  (856) 665-8844

Collingswood/Pensauken across the street from Cooper River Park
This is a home for people who are no longer able to take care of themselves; they are mostly elderly, but not entirely. They can accommodate a lot of volunteers. As a volunteer, you get to play games with and chat with residents.  They would also really love to be around children.

Center for Environmental Transformation – Eve’s Garden
Contact person:  Andrea Ferich
South Camden, Sacred Heart Catholic Church

They do a lot of gardening work– I’m not sure when these family days would be held, but if they’re during the right season, gardening could be a great family task.

Francis House HIV/AIDS
Contact person:  Susan Piliro
Phone:  (856) 541-5000
St. Anthony’s of Padua Catholic Church, East Camden

Two days a week (generally on Tuesdays and Thursdays) Francis House uses volunteers to help spend time with guests.

Good Shepherd Dining Room
The Good Shepherd Dining Room is run by the Saint Vincent De Paul Society and housed in Saint Teresa of Avila Roman Catholic Church in Bridgeton. The St.Vincent De Paul Society is a lay organization started by a college student, Fred Ozinam, who saw the need to help the poor. Their Good Shepherd Meal Program has been serving meals to the less fortunate in this area since 1980. With the help of Green Thumb workers and volunteers, 20,000 – 21,000 meals are served each year.
Meals are served Monday thru Friday from 1:00pm – 2:00pm. Food, time and/or monetary donations are graciously accepted. New members are also welcome.

• Never allow for racially or ethnically derogatory comments or jokes.  Confront other adults who do this and let children hear your objection. 

• Work at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter as a family (Charity) and work to create housing, employment and just policies for those without adequate housing (e.g. make a contribution to Habitat for Humanity.) 

• As a gift during the Advent/Christmas Season, write out a family commitment form.  For example – “In my/our attempt to do justice, I/we will”…..or “In our attempt to serve the poor and vulnerable, I/we will share more time and talent by”….(Have family members signs on.)

• Consider Alternative Christmas Gifts.  Choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and consider helping children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant.  Visit Heifer International for more information at

• St. Nicholas saw Christmas as a time to care for the poor.  If you are looking to live the spirit of St. Nicholas this Christmas, consider some alternative gifts that care for the poor and inspire compassion in others:
SHOP ONLINE? Give the gift of life through Catholic Relief Services
( and their partner SERRV ( or purchase a life-sustaining gift through the Heifer Project. Families who receive a Heifer gift frequently pay it forward in ways that benefit an entire village.  Check out dozens of gifts that make a difference from Oxfam America Unwrapped (  Whether it’s a grove of miracle trees ($35), a goat ($50), or even a pile of manure ($12); there is something for everyone.  Or Mercy Kits, an alternative gift giving program, from Mercy Corps that helps to build up people (  These are all Fair Trade possibilities.

Thank you for sharing these ideas.  May you and yours have a blessed Advent Season.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Peace and all good things,
Greg Coogan

(16) Parish Staff Ministry Report

Parish Staff Ministry Report

A Parish Leadership Tool

This tool is a one page tracking device that may be adapted locally. It provides for dialogue around the present, the future and components such as timelines, finances, and collaboration between ministries.

One of the major tasks that parish staff meetings address is the present growth of ministries of within the parish. Regular review, updating, and communication to staff members is a good way to insure maximum growth in all that is done to provide support to parishioners.

Staff may take the time to personalize this form for their own use. Then regular distribution of copies prior to staff meetings, or at the conclusion of one in preparation for the next staff meeting may provide for the ongoing promotion of ministries within the parish.

It is recommended that the reports reviewed be filed as they provide a rich tracking to provide an annual report of ministry growth to the parish.

Parish Staff Ministry Report

Starting an Elizabeth Ministry

Starting an Elizabeth Ministry Toolkit

Elizabeth Ministry is an international movement offering hope and healing for women and their families on issues related to childbearing, sexuality and relationships. Endorsed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Elizabeth Ministry respects life, cherishes children, encourages families, enriches marriage and builds community. Following the scriptural story of the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth, Elizabeth Ministry chapters are designed to support women and their families during the joys, challenges and sorrows of the childbearing years. Support, mentoring, education, spiritual nourishment and inspirational resources are offered.

In the past, the presence, intimacy, and support that is needed during childbearing years was found in the structures of family, neighborhood, church and community. Today, these structures are undergoing rapid change. Neighborhoods are fragmented, leaving many people isolated. Parishes have increased in size, making it difficult to create a hospitable and loving environment. Mobility has caused many extended families to be separated by miles, making frequent visits impossible. The support, reassurance and guidance, usually given by the extended family, often now needs to come from another source. Elizabeth Ministry is a response to this need.

Specific benefits:

  • provides mutual support among parents
  • fosters relationships among parishioners of varying age groups
  • promotes communication between young families and the parish
  • enriches young families with children under school age

Contact information:

Cathy Cipolone
Diocesan Elizabeth Ministry Coordinator
Faith & Family Life Formation
Office of Lifelong Faith Formation
(856) 308-6469

Starting an Elizabeth Ministry
Elizabeth Ministry Starter Program
rosebud program rack card(1)
Sacred Steps Program


(3) How to Apply to the Lay Ministry Formation Program

How to Apply to the Lay Ministry Formation Program

This power point presentation describes the process that potential students must follow to apply to Lay Ministry Formation Program.

Potential applicants must be parishioners within the Diocese of Camden and be recommended by their pastor or principal.

Current List of LMFP Offerings

How to Apply to the Lay Ministry Formation Program PowerPoint

How to Apply to the Lay Ministry Formation Program PDF

For further information please contact:
JoLynn R. Krempecki
Director of Lay Ministry Formation

Spanish speaking students should contact:
Kathia Arango

Temporal Services

Temporal Services
Capital Projects Process

The purpose of this toolkit is to assist Pastors and Business Managers in the planning and implementation of capital projects. This information will guide them through the process of planning, designing, funding and construction of necessary improvements to the physical plant of the parish.

Approach to Implementation
A four hour work session will be provided at various parish sites that will be facilitated by the offices of Temporal Services and Buildings. The sessions are intended for Business Managers, but Pastors are encouraged to attend. The session will take a typical capital project and work through the various steps of approval, planning, construction and follow up.

Roles and Responsibilities
Pastor and Business Manager are expected to participate in this workshop. They will provide information to the parish community, especially the Finance Council, Pastoral Council, and other ministries involved in the capital projects process.

In addition to the four hour work session, the Pastors and Business Managers will be given copies of detailed policies and procedures, lists of preferred professionals (architects & engineers) and contractors that specialize in particular types of construction. Additional help is also available from the Diocesan staff on an at need basis.

Expected Resources
The Temporal Services Office will provide the materials needed for the work session.
To receive information or assistance with a capital project question, please contact the office of the Director of Temporal Services, Larry Reader, at 856.583.2821.

It is our hope to add additional parish toolkits in the future. If you have a need we can fulfill with a toolkit, please let us know by contacting the Temporal Services office.

(14) How is Vibrant Parish Life Similar to a Successful Entrepreneurship?

How is Vibrant Parish Life Similar to a Successful Entrepreneurship?

Most of us know the tremendous success that is Starbucks. In his book It’s Not about the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks, Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks International, describes in detail the principles of leadership that he found to be of great value in both his professional and personal life.

This exercise is based on his book and asks the question “How is vibrant parish life similar to a successful entrepreneurship?” Eight of the values that have led to the success of Starbucks have been identified and correlated to a value of the Catholic Church.  Parish leadership will develop a list of parish values that correlate to the identified Church values.

Approach to Implementation
One person in the group may serve as facilitator and another as recorder. All members of the group should have a copy of the attached worksheets.

Look at each Starbucks value and the correlating Church value. Discuss and share ideas with one another. Try to identify a practical action or value particular to your parish that correlates with the Starbucks value in the first box.
Roles and Responsibilities
This exercise is designed for those in parish leadership roles, such as the Parish Staff and the Parish Pastoral Council.
No additional training is necessary.
Expected Resources
No additional resources are necessary. This exercise is based on the book It’s Not about the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks by Howard Behar. If you are interested in reading the whole book, it can be purchased through Barnes & Noble or

How is Vibrant Parish Life Similar to a Successful Entrepreneurship? worksheet

(13) Seven Rules for Pastoral Planning by Parish Pastoral Councils

Pastoral Planning Toolkit #13
Seven Rules for Pastoral Planning by Parish Pastoral Councils

One of the most important duties of the Parish Pastoral Council is to create, promulgate and monitor the three stages of the pastoral plan, “Plan-Do-Check.”   The work of the pastoral council is not complex; however, these seven rules – if considered carefully during the first stage – “Plan” – there is a greater success factor that may be realized during stages 2 and 3.

Approach to Implementation
The seven rules are named and explained in this toolkit inspired by Dr. Mark F. Fischer in his book, Making Pastoral Councils Pastoral (used with permission).   Dr. Fischer is an expert in the area of Parish Pastoral Councils, having written several previous books, many articles and hosts the website,

It is most helpful if Parish Pastoral Councils provided their own practical examples or even real local scenarios – “what ifs” – that focus on each of the seven rules.

Roles and Responsibilities
These rules act like a rudder of the ship, the pastoral plan.  The pastor with his executive committee are the most likely to take the leadership role in directing the pastoral plan.  The seven rules would be most helpful to them, and in turn, could be used with the Council as a way to check for thorough construction and to maximize the success of the plan during its first stage.

Anyone on the pastoral council could provide a short session for presentation using either the power point (8 slides) or distributing the handout and using it for discussion.

Expected Resources
Both the power point and handout are attached to this toolkit.  For further information, contact the Pastoral Planning Office:  856-583-2843.

7 Rules Handout

Seven Rules for Pastoral Planning by Councils PowerPoint


Ministry to Young Families at Our Lady of Peace

During the Encuentro Pastoral visit to Deanery 6 in June, members of the pastoral team from Our Lady of Peace Parish in Williamstown shared the fact that Elizabeth Ministry is “new and flourishing” in their parish.   We contacted Elaina Judge who was encouraged by her pastor to look into Elizabeth Ministry after she moved into the parish and missed the MOMS group she left behind. Surfing the website of Elizabeth Ministry International, their mission can be viewed:  “We respect life, cherish children, encourage families, enrich marriages, and build communities.”   On the website one can also find a brief history of this wonderful outreach. “Elizabeth Ministry began in 1991 at St. Bernard Parish in Appleton, Wisconsin, where Jeannie Hannemann was a pastoral and family life minister… Today, over 700 Elizabeth Ministry Chapters have been registered with our headquarters and exist on six continents.  Although Elizabeth Ministry is Roman Catholic in origin and outlook, we are ecumenical in our outreach.” Elaina emailed young families in the parish,  put notices in the parish bulletin and in the “cry room” and by April, they gathered for the first time.  Now the fledgling group meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays from 10 to 12 at the parish and have Family Fun Night with a potluck supper on the 3rd Wednesday of the month.  There is always an activity – often based on an upcoming feast or holiday.   For example, the craft for the children near the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was making scapulars.  July was a perfect time for an ice cream social, and in August, the children will have a Toy Swap, in which the value of sharing will be highlighted. No doubt, with the dedication of Elaina and those who join her, the “flourishing” will continue as a new year begins.  If you would like to learn more about Elizabeth Ministry at Our Lady of Peace, contact Elaina Judge at 677-7180 or email her at or