Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann presented certificates on Jan. 14 to Deacon Eugene Uptmor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon and Marlene Mulford of Little Flower Parish in Springfield.
Deacon Uptmor and Mulford join 12 others from the diocese who have participated in the mentorship program since it began in 2011. Father Stephen Sotiroff, chaplain for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton, is also chaplain of the program, chaplain of the Apostles of the Interior Life and spiritual advisor for the School of Faith at the archdiocese.
“This is the part of being a disciple that is beyond the great and good preparation for discipleship,” said Father Sotiroff during his homily at a Mass prior to the awards presentation. “This is the ‘more’ that God has in store for us. This is his sharing of his mission with us, given by the Holy Spirit.
“There’s no more preparation for this part of the mentorship program. You have completed the preparation. All we have to do is what we have done: trust God, hope in God and be available in the way he wants us to use our spiritual mentoring skills for his good and the good of his holy people,” Father Sotiroff continued.
In collaboration with the Holy Family School of Faith and the Apostles of the Interior Life, the Catholic Spiritual Mentorship program is a two-year course of study combining eight distance learning courses with four one-week intensive sessions offered in-residence at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kan.. The program seeks to form spiritual mentors to serve as a guide and companion to others on their journey to holiness. It is designed for Catholics who have a desire to develop a deep prayer and sacramental life, a desire to increase their knowledge of the Catholic faith, a desire to grow in the virtues and a desire to help others do the same.
A spiritual mentor is one formed to:
- pray for the mentee as well as for the relationship with the mentee;
- listen to God and to the mentee;
- meditate daily on the word of God;
- protect confidentiality;
- teach the mentee how to prepare for an intimate and open presentation of self to God in the sacraments and the value of thanksgiving after receiving the sacraments;
- share the teachings of the church on faith and morals;
- grow in the virtues;
- help the mentee formulate a rule of life;
- support the mentees in their states of life and vocation; and
- console the mentee in difficult or challenging times.
“I have experienced a deepening of my own prayer life and in doing so, I want to be able to help those in my parish to deepen their own,” said Deacon Uptmor when asked how he will use his spiritual mentor training. “If I can help just one person to do that, I would be extremely happy. If I am able to bring several people closer to God, this would be incredible.”
More information about the Catholic Spiritual Mentorship program is avalable by contacting the Holy Family School of Faith at (913) 310-0014 or email or by visiting www.schooloffaith.com/curriculum/spiritual_mentorship.asp.