T IS MY PRIVILEGE to be able to interview Brandon Harvey, the founder of a new Catholic Institute, The Ministry Institute of Christ the Servant. I got really excited when he first told me that he is starting this institute and his vision. He has been working really hard to “build” this new institute.
Mr. Harvey is a husband and father with a passion for the mission of the Church. He earned his undergraduate formation in theology and philosophy from Briar Cliff University (BA), graduate formation in Theology and Christian Ministry from the Franciscan University of Steubenville (MA) and did some graduate studies at the Liturgical Institute of Mundelein and the International Marian Research Institute. He is currently working on preliminary doctoral studies. He has served the Church as a Director of Religious Education, Director of Youth Ministry, Evangelization Director, Instituted Acolyte, Professor, Deacon Formation Instructor, Catechist, Speaker and Theological Consultant.
What is the Mission of The Ministry Institute of Christ the Servant? How will the Institute serve the Catholic Church?
The Ministry Institute of Christ the Servant strives to develop Catholic ministry leaders through a theology and methodology that flows from and is directed to the Eucharist, with formation opportunities that are practical, convenient and affordable. Following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Institute reflects on and participates in the work of Christ the Servant in the Sacred Liturgy, the proclamation of the Gospel, and works of mercy.
The institute will serve the Church by empowering parish and school leaders/volunteers through its formation programs.
Who inspired you to found this new institute?
Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is who inspires me regularly. Reading his work and seeing the example of his humility and holiness inspires me. This is why I named my first son Benedict and my second Joseph Ratzinger. Benedict XVI is known for liturgy but to be truthful, his legacy is much more. He understood the organic whole of the Church’s faith. Too often we have camps in the Church of liberal, conservative, charismatic and traditional. Benedict XVI was able to present the issues of the Church in a way that brings together all the issues important to the differing camps: evangelization and catechesis, the Sacred Liturgy, social justice etc. It also becomes clear that the ministry leaders within the Church need this same inner unity. Youth Ministry workers often organize liturgies, Social Justice Advocates often proclaim the good news, and catechists find themselves needing to evangelize. As one DRE said to me, “I was embarrassed for putting the wrong colors out for Mass and using the wrong readings at a Confirmation Mass. How was I to know? I never went to school for liturgy.”
The institute has also been inspired by listening to the needs of pastors, current ministry leaders and those that have left parish work. This has motivated us to help find new avenues to make it easier for paid and volunteer ministry leaders to receive formation regardless of their salary, educational background and their vocation.
What kind of programs will the Institute offer?
We continue to develop ways to offer academic programs without undue burden.
We are beginning to offer basic level pilots through our “professional training” programs. These will be offered on a Basic, Advanced and Master level for certification. The certification can be in either Sacred Liturgy or in Evangelization and Catechesis. These courses focus on Church teaching, ministry spirituality and methodology from a mentor currently in the trenches of ministry. Our pilot courses: Scripture, Apologetics, Catechesis, Evangelization, Youth Ministry, the Sacred Liturgy, the Baptismal Rite and Mystagogy I. These are not all the courses but simply the pilot options.
We also have some conferences in the works. Our youth conference will be July 29-31 of 2016: Champions of the Tau Youth Conference. This youth conference will be discipleship based and of a smaller size to allow this discipleship. It will also allow us to use the chapel for Mass, Adoration, Confession and the Divine Office. We will be providing catechetical breakouts for youth and breakouts just for adult chaperones to help prepare them for life after the conference. Please pray for this conference and for the recruitment of groups.
Lastly we are working on developing ministry resources in the form of evangelization programs for parishes, bible studies, publications and podcasts.
Most of our programs will be offered online with some live conferences, classes etc.
Who is teaching in your programs?
Our website currently does not have the instructors listed online until they begin teaching. They are people passionate about the Church who understand the centrality of the liturgy, have advanced degrees and are currently in the trenches of ministry life in some way.
Do you think liturgical studies are important for Catholic educators and ministry leaders? Why?
It is of great importance. Major! The liturgy, specifically the Eucharist, is the “source and summit” of all Christian life. It impacts the theology, spirituality and methodology of evangelists, catechists, youth ministry leaders, bible studies, prolife workers, peace advocates, deacons, Catholic school teachers and the list goes on.
St. Francis of Assisi should be known as a man who evangelized and catechized through his words and actions, and as a man that lived as a social justice advocate (to use language from today). What may surprise many is that St. Francis had a high volume of liturgical issues come up in his writings. Through these writings we can see how the liturgy played an important part in what he said and did. This is why St. Francis of Assisi plays an important role in the institute.
Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
This is an exciting time but it is also just the beginning. Please pray for us or offer Mass for the Ministry Institute of Christ the Servant, the recruitment for the youth conference and professional training pilots. Consider going to our Facebook page and helping us increase our network with amazing Catholics like all of you.