Pastoral Ministry Network of Support

An expansion of the current “Youth Ministry Network of Support”
In the Diocese of Pueblo

 Quick summary:

  • After consultation with both …
    o  Youth Ministry Network of Support participants and
    o  The Diocesan Faith Formation Commission
  • There is broad consensus that the Youth Ministry Network of Support, which currently meets on Thursdays every two weeks, should be expanded to include parish catechetical leaders.
  • This integration will begin on Thursday, October 17, at 1:30 PM, as the "Pastoral Ministry Network of Support."  The “physical” meeting takes place from the Tafoya Conference Room at the Chancery, 101 N. Greenwood, Pueblo.
  • Pro-active steps are outlined below for inclusion of those …
    o  Who do not live in the Pueblo are
    AND / OR ...
    o  Whose schedules do not allow them to attend at the regular meeting time

Please see below for a more detailed explanation.

What is the Youth Ministry Network of Support?

In February, youth ministers from across the diocese began meeting every two weeks and quickly established that participants wanted an opportunity to share resources and opportunities for collaboration, as well as engage in intentional ministry formation.

After meeting regularly now for six months, it became clear that most of our conversations were not discipline-specific to youth ministry and that catechetical leaders, those who coordinate other formation efforts in parishes, would benefit and add richness to these conversations.

Who are we and what do we do?

This is an open group for pastoral ministers (see below), moderated by Daniel Sarell, Diocesan Pastoral Associate for Lifelong Catechesis and Family Ministries.  Any participant can suggest topics for discussion, which will be taken up by consensus, if there is a commonly shared interest in the subject and a sense of priority.

"Pastoral Ministers" are understood as those who ... 

  • Are authorized by their pastor to serve publicly in the church
  • Serve in leadership in a particular area of ministry
  • Serve in close mutual collaboration with the pastoral ministry of the bishop, priests, and deacons of the Diocese of Pueblo
  • Seek to enhance his/her own preparation and formation appropriate to the level of responsibilities that are assigned to them.

There are some reasonable exceptions to these criteria, but they serve as a guideline for whom the network is intended.

The spirit and tone of the group is to support one another in a shared vision of Catholic ministry, as outlined by guiding pastoral documents of the Church's Magisterium and "best practices" in documents from trusted pastoral ministry sources.

Our perspective is towards the universality and communion of the Church, not particular expressions, movements or spiritualities.  This includes respect for legitimate diversity. 

To this end, we have focused our conversation thus far mostly around a shared reading the following books:

  • Frank Mercadante, Engaging a New Generation: A Vision for Reaching Catholic Teens 
    • This discussion is completed
  • Sherry Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
    • We are currently about 2/3 through this book
  • Michael White and Tom Corcoran, rebuilt: Awakening the Faithful; Reaching the Lost; Making Church Matter
    • We will begin reviewing this book together on October 17, 2013.

In the interest of starting fresh with a broader group of 'pastoral ministers,' it makes sense to begin including catechetical leaders into the network with the beginning of the discussion of rebuilt, on October 17, and not towards the end of our discussions on Weddell.

Typical Meeting Structure

1:30 … Gather and Pray; participants are invited to volunteer to lead prayer.

1:45 … “Round Robin” / open forum sharing of upcoming events and projects, especially those activities where there are opportunities for collaboration between parishes.

2:00 … Discussion of planned topics

  • Ministry best practices
  • Book discussion

The agendas are flexible, but it is preferred that suggested topics be discussed with the group in advance to establish that the group as a whole is interested in the suggested topic.

Use of Technology for Attendance from Outside Pueblo

One of the great blessings of this network has been how we have successfully included those who live outside of the Pueblo area to attend these meetings via telephone conference call and/or online video conferencing.  

The video conferencing has been an experiment in making do with the least costly resources available.  We have been using Google+, but we have recently found more technological stability by using VSee, a program that can be downloaded for free at is free to operate.  The limitation of the free service is that screen-sharing is mostly reserved for VSee’s premium subscription service.

I invite anyone who is interested in participating in these meetings by online video conference to either download VSee, and add “Daniel Sarell” as a contact, so that I can initiate a video call to you.    

If you plan to attend via telephone conference line, the phone number to dial at the time of the meeting is (866) 414-2828, and the participant code is 042390#.  Save these numbers, because they will be the same for subsequent meetings.  The conference call line is always an acceptable back-up when the inevitable tech problems prohibit use of video conferencing.

I initiate the conference and video calls within 5-10 minutes of the meeting's start time.  If you join the conference call after the meeting has begun or after a “roll” is taken, it is ethical (and common courtesy) to identify that you are on the call as soon as it is possible to do so, without interrupting someone who is speaking or a prayer service in progress.  Not to identify yourself on the call amounts to "eavesdropping" and violating the trust of the other participants.  Thank you for your cooperation.

For those whose schedules do not allow attendance at the time of the meeting

In addition to our commitment of including pastoral ministers from outside Pueblo through technology, we are also dedicated to including those whose schedules do not allow them to be available at 1:30 PM, on a Thursday.  Many of our colleagues are volunteers or part-time staff, and they work outside of the parish.

Careful notes are taken by a regular participant in Pueblo.  These notes, along with other “news and notes,” are emailed within a day or so to the whole email list of pastoral ministers.  Several youth ministers, who have not been able to attend our meetings, have expressed their appreciation for being included, and the notes and emails help them to stay connected, despite their restrictive schedules.

Additionally, those who are only receiving the notes and cannot attend the meetings are invited to make comments and to suggest topics for discussion.  The goal is for any and every lay ecclesial minister to feel that they have a voice and are supported by their colleagues.

Please also feel free to add others who should be added to the email list, as some part-time and volunteer positions change or get added, often without any notice to the Chancery.  Your assistance is valuable and appreciated.

It is my great hope, and I believe that I share this with the groups that I have consulted, that this "network of support" can be a vehicle whereby more credible and collaborative formation ministry can be nurtured in the Church of Southern Colorado.


Please join us on Thursday, October 17, and thereafter, every other Thursday, at 1:30 PM.


Yours in Christ’s Service,

Daniel Sarell
Diocesan Pastoral Associate, Lifelong Catechesis and Family Ministries
(719) 544-9861 / (800) 354-2729 /