11 February 2010
The Mass on December 5 at St Mary’s Parish, Carterton, and party afterwards became a celebration of the graduation as lay pastoral leaders of Sharon Penny and Eleanor Hautler. Sharon and Eleanor are both teachers at St Mary’s School and completed the course at their own cost.
The celebrations were continued the following Thursday evening when 25 parishioners travelled to Sacred Heart Cathedral to support these two wonderful women as Archbishop John Dew presented them with their Diplomas in Pastoral Leadership.
Sharon attributes their participation in the seven-year course to the enthusiasm and encouragement of their parish priest, Fr Eddie Condra, who could see the Church needed the empowering of lay people to carry out many of the duties and functions of the priest in the parish.
Without the encouragement of Fr Eddie and the support and help of the parish and their families, Sharon doubted if they would have completed the course. Such support included minding her school-aged children at the start of the course.
Eleanor said that by doing the course together they shared the travelling and had time to discuss and refresh each other on the subjects just studied. They certainly got to know each other a lot better by the end of the course.
‘In all we completed 18 papers for the diploma and, for Launch Out, we went to 24 prayer days, six retreats, numerous workshops and completed three parish projects.
‘We also attended spiritual direction regularly. We are now completely complete!’
For Eleanor, the Launch Out programme which included theology, spirituality and pastoral projects provided Sharon and herself with the opportunity to share experiences and wisdom and become more aware of the many aspects of ‘being parish’.
The travelling was tiring at times but the opportunity to discuss the content of courses with other Launch Out candidates was ample compensation. The face-to-face contact with teachers was invaluable.
Through their attainments Sharon and Eleanor have gained a heightened awareness of ‘journey’.
In the image, Sharon Penny and Eleanor Hautler are third and second from the right, front.