Newsletter for U.S. Bishops Sponsored
by the NCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ministry
|This newsletter is developed by the NCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ministry. The purpose of this newsletter is to highlight lay ministry trends, resources, models, and other key information that may be helpful to the U.S. Bishops. Please forward suggestions and comments to:
Lay Ministry Project Coordinator
Theology Papers Available on Web
Papers from two conferences sponsored by St. John's School of Theology – Seminary, Collegeville can be read at http://www.mncts.org/sju/1/wood/ministries.htm. The conferences, one held at Collegeville and the other at Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina were called "Diverse Ministries: Common Mission A Theological Reappraisal of Contemporary Catholic Ministry." Papers were presented by Michael Downey, Zeni Fox, Richard Gaillardetz, Aurelie Hagstrom, Kenan Osborne, OFM, David Power, OMI, Thomas Rausch, SJ, Elissa Rinere, CP, R. Kevin Seasoltz, OSB, and Susan Wood, SCL (Aurelie Hagstrom has served as advisor to the USCCB Committee on the Laity, and Zeni Fox and Elissa Rinere, CP currently serve as advisors to the Subcommittee on Lay Ministry.)
The Liturgical Press will publish the papers as Ordered Ministries. The book will be available in Fall 2003. For more information contact Jan Schramel at 1-800-858-5450, ext. 2560 or email@example.com.
Vocation to Lay Ecclesial Ministry Affirmed in Chicago
On Pentecost Sunday, Cardinal George called forth and affirmed as lay ecclesial ministers 150 Pastoral Associates and Directors of Religious Education of the Archdiocese. Speaking to them in the presence of their families, pastors, colleagues and friends, Cardinal George said, "You have been called. What was not there before was the call by the Church that affirms the vocation." Each lay minister was presented with a candle inscribed with the coat of arms of the archdiocese and the words of Isaiah: "Ministers of our God you shall be Called." (61:6)
The affirmation on Pentecost was separate and distinct from a commissioning to a specific ministry in a particular parish. That came later for those called forth. For them, the affirmation by the cardinal was a very welcome recognition by the Church that their vocation as lay ecclesial ministers is lived out in a variety of specific roles over the years.
Catholic New World, May 26, 2002Subcommittee to Begin Work on Document on Preparation of Lay Ecclesial Ministers
At two meetings in Dallas in June the Subcommittee gave attention to a proposed document that would offer guidance on the preparation of lay ecclesial ministers. Suggested first during their November 2001 meeting, the document will be a response to the proposal in Lay Ecclesial Ministry: The State of the Questions "that the Conference offer guidance for the preparation of lay ecclesial ministers. That guidance would be developed from existing resources (e.g. nationally approved standards) and experiences (diocesan ministry formation and graduate programs in ministry) and could be applied according to local situations. "
At their June 12 meeting, the Subcommittee reviewed some of the possible components of such a document and approved a tentative plan for consultations with bishops, seminary rectors, theology school presidents and deans, ministry formation program directors, individuals familiar with the development of standards and competencies, pastors, and lay ecclesial ministers. On June 14, the Subcommittee met with the bishop-chairs of the USCCB Committees on the Diaconate, Doctrine, Laity, Pastoral Practices, and Vocations to solicit their guidance and support and suggestions for how best to involve their committees and staff in the development of the proposed document.
A consultation with seminary rectors and theology school presidents and deans is planned for November 19 in Washington. All of these consultations are seen as gathering information, perspective, and recommendations to be used by the Subcommittee in the preparation of the document.
Correction: The address given in the Mar/Apr Lay Ministry Update for the report of the survey of financial assistance for lay persons preparing for lay ecclesial ministry was incomplete. The correct address is www.usccb.org/laity/laymin/finasst.htm.
...From Our Tradition . . .
Collaboration – the Way of Future Ministry
Diocesan priests almost by definition have always enjoyed and encouraged good relationships with the parishioners. In the past three decades this relationship has developed under the influence of Vatican II into a real sense also of collaboration. The spirit that supports collaborative ministry of priests and lay men and women is a spirit of partnership. Partnership has a powerful theological base. It is a shame to link the development of a sense of collaborative ministry with the comparative shortage of priests. The impression is that since there are not sufficient priests then we should delegate some tasks to the lay people. I would want to fight this impression because it is false. It is a theological development of Vatican II and the way of future ministry even if we had thousands of young and energetic priests. …
For them [effective priests of the future] being authentic also demands from them accountability. This accountability is a corollary of collaborative ministry. The successful priests of the new millennium will need to engage the laity in many aspects of their lives and of the life of their parishes. This will not be an easy transition and has its own human, theological, and pastoral significances that need to be explored now.
Bishop John Boisssonneau, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, "Future Effective Priests, an Address to the Serra International Convention," Origins, August 1, 2002, 175-6.From Our Jewish & Christian Neighbors. . .
Church Leaders Study New Recruitment Models
Leaders from nine church denominations (American Baptist Churches in the USA; Disciples of Christ, Episcopal; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Mennonite, Lutheran, Missouri Synod; Presbyterian Church in the USA; Progressive National Baptist Church; and United Church of Christ) met recently with the staff of the Fund for Theological Education to learn about two new models for recruiting young people for ministry.
The Presbyterian PulSE (Pastoral Leadership Search Effort) project will have at its core a national database to communicate with young people and link recruitment initiatives. The project, which relies on contribution of lay persons to get churches back in the habit of recruiting and sending young people into pastoral ministry, aims to educate both younger and older persons about the challenges and possibilities for leadership in the PCUSA.
The Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) has a new churchwide "Joy of the Harvest" initiative to recruit church workers. Stimulated by members' concern over erosion in the relationship of churches and workers, the denomination has launched a three-year program to rebuild recruitment and retention as an integrated, relational aspect of the lifestyle of local congregations. The effort will include parents, teachers, pastors, congregations and institutions of the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod).
Horizons, The Newsletter of the Fund for Theological Education, Spring 2002.From Around the World. . .
New Degree Program in Liturgy Designed to be Accessible to Men and Women Throughout England and Wales
The Department of Christian Life and Worship of the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of England and Wales and Scotland recently announced the establishment of a new program leading to an MA in Liturgy in collaboration with the University of Wales, Lampeter. The course is based on extended learning modules, helping it to be much more accessible to people who have full time commitments to ministry, work or family. The course has been developed specifically to train men and women to assist the bishops in their work of promoting the quality of liturgical formation and liturgical celebration in their dioceses. A particular project of the Catholic Church, this course is also being offered in consultation with the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England.
Bishop Jabalé, who is chairman of the Department of Christian Life and Worship, commented that the new course "enables those who have ministerial responsibility for these things, and those who are simply interested in learning and understanding more to come together and benefit from an opportunity to learn together. … The emphasis throughout is on an interdisciplinary approach. The course will enable an examination of the various dimensions of liturgy, in academic study, in an appreciation of the liturgy as ‘enacted faith,' and in learning of various practical skills for its better celebration."
Bishop Jabalé concluded "It is our aim to bring these different strands together during the course in order to assist participants to the deepest sense for the liturgy as the prayer of the Church fruitfully manifesting the faith of the Church."
Further information is available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Briefings May 15, 2002, p.9