Vocation and Pastoral Ministry...as a Woman
By Margarita Flores (MDiv '07)
St. Catherine of Siena said, "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire. Let the truth be your delight...Proclaim it...be with certain congeniality."
Incorporating this thought into the ministry to which I was called and into my own personal life, I consider the question of whether I understand ministry as it should be. Is my commitment to proclaiming and carrying out the truth being accomplished without losing my essence as a woman, Latina Catholic, mother, sister, friend, and leader within the Catholic church? As I move to the Scriptures I hear Micah saying, "God has showed you what is good." And what does God require of us? "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).
Reflecting on my younger years, I can clearly remember the first time I felt God call my name and give me a desire to share my experience of his love and acceptance with others. My experience as a Latina Catholic woman graduate of Fuller Seminary has been one I wouldn't change for anything. Partnering with colleagues and pastors from various denominations gave me the opportunity to deepen my own faith and convictions, and reaffirm my personal identity as a woman baptized and called to ministry. As the first woman appointed Parish Life Director for the Sacred Heart Parish in Compton, California, I oversee the day-to-day pastoral and administrative responsibilities for my faith community. Managing the key areas in the life of a parish can feel overwhelming at times and yet, as St. Catherine of Siena said, "If I am where I should be…" God assures me that I have been entrusted to shepherd this parish in faithfully responding to the gospel imperative for social justice in the local community.
There have been challenges and endurance in my 25 years of ministry as a woman. Nevertheless, I feel so blessed to be living at this time in history--because never within the history of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles have lay women served as lay pastoral leaders in charge of parishes. I am delighted to be part of this piece of our history.