The formation programme can last between 4 to 8 years, as the Candidates balances Te Hao Nui – Launch Out with the needs of their jobs and families. In the third or fourth year of their formation, the Candidates are asked to discern their specialisation. This would determine the direction of their future pastoral projects and the additional courses they will take when they graduate from Te Kupenga. There are two main pathways: Lay Pastoral Leadership, where they will be prepared to run parishes, and Lay Ecclesial Minister where they could serve as chaplains (e.g., prison and hospital) or drive specific ministries in the archdiocese and parishes (e.g. youth, marriage, family, adult formation, parish-school engagement and other ministries).
Candidates who satisfactorily complete the programme will be endorsed by the archbishop, and their availability for service will be made known throughout the Archdiocese. Although there is no guarantee of employment the Launch Out endorsement is highly considered by many Catholic organisations in looking for possible leaders for the different ministries.
The programme is an integration of three formation programmes, namely: Theological Formation, Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Formation.
Like most professions, being a Lay Leaders have its distinct qualifications. It is important to equip Lay Leaders with theological knowledge in running ecclesial organisations such as parishes, faith communities and the different ministries. This would entail the study of scripture, theology, and pastoral leadership. A Launch Out Candidate will be required to finish the NZ Certificate in Christian Studies-Christian Ministry Strand (NZCCS-CM) and the NZ Diploma in Christian Studies- Christian Leadership Strand (NZDCS-CL) from Te Kupenga Catholic Leadership Institute www.ctc.ac.nz. The cost for the studies is to be shouldered by the Launch Out Candidates..
Depending on the specialisation a Candidate chose, they will take up additional courses or take up professional development.
Pastoral formation is the component that develops practical skills in leadership and pastoral care in a parish setting. Candidates are required to organise at least one pastoral project a year and at least a total of four pastoral projects during their formation. At the end of the year, around November, the Candidates present the outcomes of their projects to the bishop, different leaders in the Archdiocese, the Launch Out community and their families. We call this the Pastoral Presentation Day and it is the highlight of a Launch Out year. Examples of Pastoral Projects current Candidates ran: Organising the Order of Rite of Initiation (OCIA or formerly RCIA), engaging under 50s parishioners through shared meals, developing a database for parish roll, teaching senior parishioners the use of digital technology to cope with the lockdowns, organising lenten huis for tamaraki for a Maori community, developing and running an adult formation programme for lay ministers of the parish, etc.
Candidates are assigned Mentors, who are parishioners with strong mana in the archdiocese. These mentors journey with the Candidates as they navigate the intricacies of their pastoral projects. Click here to see our list of Pastoral Mentors.
Pastoral formation also includes a year when a Candidate, usually upon the advice of the formator, takes a year of reflection to listen to the Holy Spirit as it speaks to their own lives and the needs of the parish. In this year, they take time off from pastoral projects and deepen their prayer life and seek meaningful conversations with parishioners, priests and individuals about life and the role of the Church in today’s world.
Te Hao Nui – Launch Out Candidates need to nurture a life of prayer. The Spiritual Formation helps the Launch Candidate integrate the lessons they learned from the Pastoral and Theological Formation, in the light of their discernment for ministry. Spiritual Formation nourishes their ministry and their personal lives. The Launch Out Candidate will be required to see a spiritual director once a month for at least ten months in the year, attend three Prayer Days, and one Retreat in a year. The cost associated with these activities is undertaken by the Archdiocese.