Saint James Project: Fides, Opus, Ratio
What is the St. James Project?
The mission statement of the St. James Project states that the project is about the “Renewal of Catholic culture through faith, work, and reason.” The aim of the project is to engage the laity, as an aspect of their mission in the Church and world (LG; AA; GS), in the renewal of culture and society through evangelization. The focus is on the New Evangelization and will include formation, training, and catechesis; however, unlike other Athenaeum programs it does not seek to prepare people for ministry or holy orders, nor is it an academic program. The project seeks to provide a forum for the laity to be informed in their faith in order to live it out, especially in all aspects of society, each according to his or her state in life. The project seeks to create a greater outreach to the Catholic community of the Archdiocese and beyond and to create greater involvement with the Athenaeum as a source of formation, inspiration, support, encouragement, and catechesis in the faith. The project will provide training under the aspects of: Awareness (raise awareness), Engagement (motivate the faithful) and Evangelization (activate - to be evangelizers through engagement with the Gospel in everyday life).
By what process does the St. James Project seek to do this work of evangelization?
Fides (Faith) = fidelity to the Church's vision of the human person, family, and culture. We believe that the Gospel presents a true understanding of the human person and this authentic anthropology provides a vision for human life and society. The Gospel has a place in society and its teaching should inform the culture in which we live. This anthropology is the foundation of the project to evangelize - to transform society into the Kingdom of God.
Opus (Work) = Seeks to provide opportunities to study and conceptualize concrete ways of engaging the culture in which we live.
Ratio (Reason) = To witness to the “reasonableness of the faith” through our lives, work, and proclamation within the world to all people of good will (GS 2).
Whom do we seek to reach and how do we seek to reach them?There are two major approaches to outreach - Informational and Formational
- Informational: Through this approach, the projects seeks to provide educational opportunities for larger, although targeted, ecclesial groups - pastors, principals, teachers, parents, deacons, lay ministers, youth ministers, CCD/PSR and RCIA directors, Knights of Columbus, etc. - and to provide workshops, talks, retreats, conferences to encourage people in their faith and introduce them to the topic, themes, general principles and goals of evangelization; their role in the work of evangelization; and, strategies for evangelization in their particular ministry - e.g. schools as a place of evangelization. Under this aspect of outreach, the project will develop media, internet, social media and web resources to help sustain initiatives undertaken. This aspect is intended to be more public and accessible to all.
- Formational: The second aspect follows a Biblical formational model built around the idea of core groups expanding to include greater numbers over time. The initial core group of possibly five people will meet with a mentor several times in order to be formed and educated for evangelization. This group needs to be dedicated and committed to the teaching for the Church and the mission of the project. After a number of formation and training sessions each member of this group will invite one or two others to join the group and the process will continue for a few more sessions of formation and instruction. After this point each member will invite an inactive Catholic to attend a workshop on some aspect of Catholic teaching relevant to their particular state in life, work, or vocation. These initial formational small groups will continue to meet and expand over time.
The real fundamental interest of the whole project is concerned with changing lives through an introduction to the Gospel message which is relevant for all peoples - the Gospel is life - this is what the St. James Project is about.
The St. James Project is a work of the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary's Seminary. It responds to the need for greater outreach to the general Catholic community for formation in faith and engagement in the mission of the Church called for by Vatican II, Pope Paul VI, Blessed Pope John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.
The St. James Project has a Director who works under the direction and guidance of the Athenaeum Dean. The Dean reports to the President and the President will advise the executive committee, senate, and faculty of the work, status etc. concerning the St. James Project. While it has aspects that are catechetical and possibly later even academic, it is not an academic program, nor is it a ministerial program as it does not prepare people to be priests, deacons or lay ministers.
The project has its own budget and is operated through the same financial processes as all other programs. The project has funding, through donors, to operate for three years.
This program is experimental, and as it develops, it will see modifications. At an appropriate time it will be added to the Athenaeum Faculty Handbook.