WASHINGTON (May 1, 2000) -- Richard McCord, Ph.D., head of the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth, and Mercy Sister Amy Hoey, Ph.D., Project Coordinator of the U.S. Bishops' Lay Ecclesial Ministry Project, will be honored May 6, by the National Association for Lay Ministry with its Gaudium et Spes Award at the association's annual convocation, this year held in San Jose, California.
The award is given to honor the work of McCord and Sister Hoey with the U.S. Bishops' Subcommittee for Lay Ministry and the development of the Lay Ecclesial Ministry: State of the Questions report, which was published by the bishops last December.
In advising McCord and Sister Hoey of the honor, the association noted they were the unanimous choice of the board.
"Your work for many years has contributed significantly to the cause of lay ministry in the Church," they said. "Most especially the work of the Lay Ecclesial Ministry subcommittee and the 'State of the Questions' document that resulted . . . constitutes a major new contribution. We are grateful and proud that we can honor your service in this way."
The honor is an occasional award presented by the association's board to individuals who, in an exemplary manner, have evidenced commitment to the vision of the Church as articulated in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and who, in a special way, have advocated and fostered the enhanced role of the laity who respond to their baptismal call to ministry in the Church and society.
Previous honorees include Archbishop William Borders, retired archbishop of Baltimore; Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, retired archbishop of Seattle; Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee; Trinitarian Brother Loughlan Sofield, senior editor of Human Development magazine and author of The Collaborative Leader and other works on church leadership; Sister Louise Bond, of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, former executive director of the Lay Ministry Association; and Zeni Fox, Ph.D., Director of Lay Ministry and Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Seton Hall University, and author of New Ecclesial Ministry: Lay Professionals Serving the Church.
Lay Ecclesial Ministry: The State of the Questions summarizes four years of work by the Bishops' Lay Ministry Subcommittee on topics such as theological foundations, education and formation of lay ministers, relationships between ordained and lay ministers, salaries, benefits, working conditions, recruiting lay ministers to serve different cultural groups, as well as the very meaning of "lay ecclesial minister" itself. The report offers tentative conclusions about these topics and proposes follow-up actions. The substance of this report continues to shape the bishops' national thinking and action on lay ministries.
The National Association for Lay Ministry was founded in 1976 as "a professional organization which supports, educates and advocates for lay ministry and promotes the development of lay ministry in the Catholic Church."