Resources Persons

The Congar Institute and our partners in the Home Missions Leadership Conference are committed to the development of ministry by making new and excellent formation resources available to the local church. Our greatest resource is our people: highly educated, deeply committed, richly experienced Catholic ordained, religious, and lay ministers who care passionately about God's people especially in those places where the church's presence is limited or absent. Many of our Resource Persons have spent their whole ministerial lives working in what we call home mission areas, regions of the United States where the Catholic Church lacks the full complement of resources needed to address adequately the pastoral needs there. Recognizing that the reality of Catholic pastoral ministry is changing, we intend to share through local formation programs the treasure that we have with those who are stepping forward to assume that responsibility, in particular lay ecclesial ministers and deacons. We are proud to introduce you to some of our Resource Persons.

Fr. Jorge [ Presmanes, OP ]

Dominican Father Jorge Presmanes has worked for a long time to develop lay leadership in the Hispanic community. Before and since entering the Dominicans, Fr. Jorge worked as a School for Ministry teacher with the Southeast Pastoral Institute in Miami, FL. He served for nine years as pastor of St. Dominic Parish, a very large, predominantly Hispanic parish in Miami. At the same time, he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Hispanic ministry at Barry University in Miami and continues to teach there at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels. He is the Director of the University's Institute for Hispanic/Latino/a Theology and Ministry. He has co-edited a book on preaching in the Hispanic community, and has written many articles and speaks internationally on the topic of Hispanic ministry and theology.

My life has been transformed much more by the people to whom I minister, and I have received much more than I have given. That is what inculturation is about. It is about coming into contact with another as part of one's ministerial mission, but the result is that you are transformed by the person to whom you are ministering and called to preach to. The process is dynamic.

Faith, according to Yves Congar, is the human response to God's call, and that call is to make the world a community of brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. But the call is only heard by the human subject, and the response to that call is also mediated by culture. Faith then, is something universal, expressed in the particular and it is the internal principle of our catholic unity.

Sr. Madonna [ Figura, SSCM ]

Sister Madonna Figura, SSCM, is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius, founded in 1909. Their motherhouse is in Danville, Penn. The sisters live out their call and charism by witnessing to, proclaiming and building God's Kingdom, and dedicating their prayer and ministry to: evangelization, education, elder care and ecumenism.

Sr. Madonna earned her BA in Psychology and an MA in Religious Education. She has 32 years experience as a Director of Religious Education (DRE). However, she states: "Though my title in parishes...has always been DRE, my work has been broader pastoral ministry. I have prepared and worked with ordained and lay ministries in areas of evangelization, catechesis, liturgy, hospitality, home visitation and hospice care, counselling, environment and art."

Speaking as a Master Catechist, Sr. Madonna tries to help other catechists to see that "while you get your teacher's guides and everything is outlined for you, the real lesson is not how to teach a lesson. It is about touching the hearts, minds and souls of the people they are teaching, and making a connection of what they have heard in the Scripture no matter who is the author. There is a difference between being a teacher and being a catechist. Catechists echo God's way. Jesus is saying something to us and using us as instruments. And we have to be sure we say it to the people the same way he intended it. So as catechists, if we really love God and want to share that love with others, we have a deep responsibility to know God's Word the best we can."

Discipleship is like what happens at the end of Mass. The liturgy is over when the priest says, 'Go in peace'. The ritual is over, but when we go out the door, the real work is just beginning.

Fr. Domingo [ Rodriguez Zambrana, S.T. ]

Father Domingo Rodriguez-Zambrana, ST, originally from Puerto Rico, is a member of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, a family of religious and lay missionaries whose founder had a vision of a missionary laity working in collaboration with sisters, brothers and priests. Father Thomas Augustine Judge, C.M. was convinced that "every catholic is called to be an apostle" and this serves as the focus for the mission of Fr. Domingo's community today. Fr. Domingo himself has served as a pastor for 14 years, as a member of his community's General Counsel for several terms and as their Major Superior for 8 yrs. He is an award-winning writer and international lecturer.


285 Oblate Drive
San Antonio, TX 78216-6693
Email: congarinstitute@ost.edu
Phone: 210-341-1366 Ext. 269
Fax: 210-341-4519

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