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Considering the Pentecost Journey

Sacred Heart students and alumni attend annual day of reflection led by Dr. Patricia Cooney Hathaway.

by MOSAIC Editorial Team

On May 18, the Institute for Lay Ministry sponsored a time of retreat for lay students and Sacred Heart alumni of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) program. The retreat was a day of refreshment and preparation for the celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The seminary offers retreats to support and encourage our MAPS students and graduates.

“It’s so easy for lay ministers to lose sight of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit within them and in their ministries amidst their busy lives and outward activities,” said Dr. Matthew Gerlach, dean of the Institute for Lay Ministry. “And the Archbishop has called us,” Dr. Gerlach emphasizes, “to become more sensitive to the role of the Holy Spirit in our mission and ministry. It is essential that we all stop and reflect on the Holy Spirit regularly.”

by MOSAIC Editorial Team

The topic of this year’s day of reflection attracted over thirty past and present MAPS students considering the topic, “The Holy Spirit in Our Lives and Ministry” presented by Sacred Heart professor Dr. Patricia Cooney-Hathaway. Dr. Cooney has served as a professor of systematic and spiritual theology since the re-founding of the seminary in 1987. She is among the seminary’s most beloved professors and has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Institute for Lay Ministry since its founding in 1987. 

The day consisted of two presentations by Dr. Cooney, some time for silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Mass with the Most Reverend Robert Fisher, auxiliary bishop of Detroit, as well as opportunities for fellowship and mutual encouragement during breakfast, small group discussions, and lunch. Participants appreciated the balance between presentation, discussion, and time for personal prayer.

Pentecost Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral letter Unleash the Gospel. In Guidepost number ten , the Archbishop encourages all of us to “call upon the Advocate” in carrying out our mission and ministry. He wrote: “Prayer and intercession are indispensable components of the new evangelization, since God the Holy Spirit is the principal agent for unleashing the Gospel. Prayer is the way we access the unlimited divine power of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate.”

This special day of reflection served as a renewed invitation for MAPS students and lay ecclesial ministers to consider the significance of Pentecost. As one MAPS attendee summed up the impact of the day: “I consider my Advent journey and my Lenten journey, but I’ve never given much thought to my Pentecost journey... until today. Thank you!”

To learn more about the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) program or other academic programs offered by the Institute for Lay Ministry, visit

MOSAIC Editorial Team

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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.