By Tim Johnson
Cindy Black has been appointed the director of adult faith formation for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
Black told Today’s Catholic one of the keys to adult faith formation is evangelization, “that continual growing in faith, nurturing that relationship and the need of constant evangelization throughout our lives.”
“The role of the laity in evangelizing the world in adult faith formation will hopefully help laypeople to know how needed their gifts are,” Black said, “and equip them to be disciples of Christ and to become passionate about serving Jesus and our neighbors.”
Under the tutelage of the Secretariat of Evangelization and Special Ministries, Black will begin her directorship on July 1, but she is already preparing for her new role by researching RCIA Best Practices, ARISE programs or other similar parish-based programs for adults, and small Christian and small faith communities.
Secretariat of Evangelization and Special Ministries Mary Glowaski explained that the diocese has made a commitment to adult faith formation. “Central to our continued growth as Catholic Christians we must seek new ways of understanding and articulating our faith,” she told Today’s Catholic. “Adult formation, which is basically a commitment to deepening our relationship with Christ and with each other, offers all of us abundant opportunities to know Christ and to see Christ in our world. This knowledge and personal experience of Christ equips us to be bold in our trust and belief in Christ and in the teachings of our faith.”
Glowaski said, “Cindy brings wisdom, experience and passion to this new position. She possesses a deep understanding of human nature and a profound sense of compassion for those who struggle with the challenges of living a life faithful to the teachings of our Church. A deeply spiritual woman, it takes only a few minutes in her presence to know she is led by her love of Christ and a passionate and robust desire to share this love!”
“Cindy has the heart of a servant,” Glowaski added. “We will all benefit from her work and dedication in this new position.”
Black said, “When we think of adult faith formation it’s not just catechesis — that we are in continual need in renewing our relationship and our commitment to follow Christ.”
“Prayer has to be a big part of that,” Black said. “I am amazed in my own friendships and conversations with people that many adults do not know how to pray. They try and they want to become comfortable in prayer, but it is just something they have not ever been taught how to do, especially when it comes to contemplation.”
“As Catholics we’re good at those memorized prayers even when we move into spontaneous prayer, but it’s all words spoken praising God, asking for forgiveness, giving intentions and even thanksgiving,” she said. “I would love to see more Catholic adults really learn how to just sit in the quiet and just be with Jesus in contemplation. Let Him fill our hearts with the love He has for us and with the joy and peace that comes from being connected to Him. That’s what is going to allow us to be people of joy even with the crosses of everyday life.”
Black said she has been reading a great deal on Adult Faith Formation and will base her approach on the USCCB document “Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Pastoral Plan for Adult Faith Formation in the United States,” which outlines three major goals to guide and direct efforts in adult faith formation: 1) Invite and enable ongoing conversion to Jesus in holiness of life; 2) promote and support active membership in the Christian community; 3) call and prepare adults to act as disciples in mission to the world.
She continued, “In order to do this in our diocese, parishes and schools we should be intentionally incorporating adult faith formation into everything we do. Each time we gather should foster our relationship with Jesus and each other as His body. And following the lead of our Holy Father Pope Francis, we need to meet adults where they are and journey with them toward God.”
Part of her duties will include coordinating the women’s evenings of reflection, working with the women’s and assisting with the men’s conferences, and offering guidance for parish missions.
Black has worked in parish youth ministry at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne. For the last eight years she has worked as director of youth ministry at the diocesan level, and more recently campus and young adult ministry has been added as well.
Much of her time has been spent working with the adults who work with young people. “The training I do is for the adults who work or volunteer in the parish,” she said. “I’ve been doing adult faith formation but geared at adults who work in youth ministry.”
Black completed her master’s in theology from the University of Notre Dame and feels she has a lot to share. She feels blessed to have learned the richness of the faith, “not only the catechesis, but also about liturgy and evangelization through my classwork.”
A director of youth ministry will be announced in the near future.
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