So what do you do? It’s probably a question that you have answered and asked many times in your life. For me this is a hard question to answer because my answer is, I am a lay Pastoral Associate at a Catholic Church, which sounds like Latin to most people. When someone’s answer is, I am a teacher, doctor, or even a Nun people have a reference and understanding of what exactly it is that person does. When I tell people what I do I get questions like “so you’re a minister?” “Do you get paid for that?” and “Does that mean you’re religious?” The quick answer to those questions is No, yes, full time with benefits and of course!
The longer answer is this:
We all, by the gift of our baptisms, are anointed as priest, prophet and king but what does it mean to pursue that as a profession, especially if you aren’t getting ordained or taking vows? Well, first of all, like professionals in other fields I did train for my position; as an undergraduate I studied social work with a minor in Catholic theology at a Benedictine school in New Hampshire called St. Anselms. After college I got a job as a Youth Minister at a parish and fell in love with parish life, which prompted me to attend Boston College and received a Master’s degree in pastoral ministry. So kids - don’t let your parents tell you that you wont get a job after majoring in theology! In 2006, as I was finishing my Master’s program I moved to California and completed my course work and wrote my thesis at the Jesuit school in Berkeley, while working here at CTK as a youth minister. I served this parish for 7 years as your Youth Minister and eventually transitioned into being a Pastoral Associate. This is where things get confusing. Most people do understand what a youth minister does-minister to youth, but what about a Pastoral Associate?
The reason the title is confusing is that the job description varies depending on what parish you work at and what the needs of the Pastor are. As an associate you are literally assisting the Pastor in the care of the parish. A Pastor’s job is enormous, they are both the CEO and Spiritual guide for the community and in a parish the size of Christ the King that is an impossibly big job. Even with a good Priest Associate like Father Vince, the work load from sacramental responsibilities alone is huge. Think funerals, baptisms, weddings, anointings, confessions and various blessings for the lives of 4,000 + families. Pastoral Associates are hired to oversee a part of parish life that fits their specialized skills. Here at Christ the King we have 3 associates. Sister Joanne is our parish connector, she keeps people connected, creates an atmosphere of hospitality and oversees the women’s retreat and grief ministry. Sister Dominic is our liturgy and sacramental pro, she works with our liturgical ministers to assure an amazing Sunday experience and meets with families preparing for baptisms and funerals, to guide them and support them. That leaves me and you are still thinking and what do you do, Kate? Our retired Pastor, Father Joyce, built a legacy here at CTK of high quality adult education and social justice, and when he took me on as Associate he assigned me the responsibility of supporting our new Pastor in continuing that strong legacy. In addition to working with the adult ed and social justice committees, I direct our Confirmation program, walk with the ChristLight team as their spiritual director and whatever other odd jobs Father Paulson finds for me. So now you know what I do!
8:00am, 5:00pm (vigil)
7:00am, 8:00am, 9:15am, 10:45am, 12:15pm, 6:00pm (youth mass)
8:00 am, 7:00 pm;
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 12 noon-7:00 p.m. (except summer)