Newsletter for U.S. Bishops Sponsored
by the USCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ministry
|This newsletter is developed by the USCCB 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:
NCCB Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women, and Youth
3211 4th Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194
Minnesota Dioceses Collaborate on Certification of Lay Ecclesial Ministers
On August 25, 2005, forty-eight ministers from across the state of Minnesota were certified as lay ecclesial ministers.
The certification was included in a liturgy at the 2005 Minnesota Catholic Education Association (MCEA) Convention. Participating in the ceremony were Archbishop Harry Flynn and Bishop Richard Pates of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Bishop John Kinney of the Diocese of St. Cloud, Bishop Victor Balke of the Diocese of Crookston and Bishop John Nienstedt of the Diocese of New Ulm. (The Dioceses of Duluth and Winona also participate in the joint certification program.)
The 48 lay ecclesial ministers who were certified included pastoral associates, parish life coordinators, directors of religious education and youth ministry and catechetical leaders, all of whom completed a process certifying their proficiency in lay ecclesial ministry. During the six-month process, each candidate demonstrates or gains competency in five categories: personal and spiritual maturity, lay ecclesial ministry identity, Catholic theology, pastoral practice, and professional practice.
The Minnesota certification process is based on the National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers approved by the USCCB Commission on Certification and Accreditation in 2003. Dr. Charlotte McCorquedale serves as certification consultant to the dioceses, St. John’s University, and the MCEA, all of whom have collaborated in developing the process.
Each candidate submits an application and portfolio demonstrating her/his competence. The candidates are given feedback from a state review board and then complete the process with the help of a mentor and, if needed, with course work, according to Peter Noll, MCEA executive director.
Before certification, candidates also develop a continuous self-improvement plan. They submit that plan and the progress they have made when seeking certification renewal five years after being initially certified.
Dr. Charlotte McCorquedale: firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-workers in the Vineyard to be on November Agenda
At its September meeting the Administrative Committee of the USCCB approved the addition of Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry to the agenda of the November 14-17 General Meeting. The Subcommittee is currently receiving comments and modifications from bishops and will meet October 31 to review those comments and modifications.
The vote of the Administrative Committee followed a unanimous recommendation from the National Advisory Council that the document go forward. The NAC also sent a second recommendation to the Administrative Committee that “as the Committee on the Laity continues to expand its study of lay ecclesial ministry, it pay particular attention to the recruitment and formation of members of minority groups.” That recommendation, which was also unanimous, based its rationale on statistics, drawn from the forthcoming Lay Parish Ministers of the National Pastoral Life Center, which are cited in the draft of Co-workers in the Vineyard.
National Pastoral Life Center Completes Third Study of Parish Ministers
The Fall 2005 issue of Church contains a 16-page insert, entitled Ministries: A Parish Guide, which includes the executive summary of Lay Parish Ministers: A Study of Emerging Leadership by Dr. David DeLambo, as well as reflections by Karen Sue Smith, editor, and Rev. Eugene Lauer, Director of the Parish Life Center, and suggestions for using the data from the summary with a variety of parish groups. (The issue also contains an essay by Dr. Zeni Fox , advisor to the USCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ministry titled, “Musings of Lay Ecclesial Ministry: Toward a New Document.”)
The study, which provides longitudinal data beginning with the first study done by Monsignor Philip Murnion in 1990, indicates that the number of lay parish ministers has continued to increase (by 5% since 1997) as has the percentage of parishes that employ them (54% in 1990, 60% in 1997 and 66% in 2005). The age of such parish ministers has also increased; e.g. for lay persons (excluding religious) the average age in 1990 was 45; in 2005 it is 52.
Ministries: A Parish Guide and the complete study, Lay Parish Ministers: A Study of Emerging Leadership are available from NPLC, 212-431-7825, www.nplc.org.
From Our Tradition . . .
All Christians Accomplish Their Mission according to the Three Fundamental Functions of the Church
“The community of the Church is differentiated: it fulfills its mission through different states each having its own accent: the clerical state, the religious state and the lay state. These different states must be understood as so many forms of Christian life whose deep meaning is the same for all; “that of being a way of living the same Christian dignity and the universal call to holiness in the perfection of love.” (Christifideles Laici, 55) Each of the three states marks with its own imprint the common Christian life. The differentiation of the community of the Church in three states must not, however, be understood in an absolute manner; on the one hand, what is common is foundational, and on the other hand, in each of the three states are found elements of the two other states. This is the reason why one cannot maintain a strict compartmentalization between the service of salvation belonging to those who are ordained and the service of the world belonging to lay persons. Rather, the one mission of the Church is oriented toward the salvation of the world; the service of lay persons is thus also a service of salvation. There is in fact a collaboration of all the faithful in each of the two domains of the mission of the Church; in the spiritual sphere to bring to people the message of Christ and his grace, as well as in the temporal sphere to impregnate and perfect the order of the realities of the world with the spirit of the Gospel (Ecclesiae de Mysterio, Foreword). In their different identity, all Christians accomplish their mission according to the three fundamental functions of the Church: Proclamation of the Faith, Liturgy, and Service.”
Lay Persons Mandated in Service of the Church, Conference of Swiss Bishops, January 2005
From Around the World. . .
Archdiocese of Toronto Defines and Sets Guidelines for Employment of Lay Pastoral Ministers
The Office for Lay Ministry and Chaplaincy of the Archdiocese of Toronto has at least three functions:
- The promotion, development and support of lay ministries, especially for those who work full-time or part-time in parishes.
- The sustaining of chaplaincy services to health care institutions and correctional facilities within the territory of the Archdiocese.
- The implementation of the Volunteer Screening Initiative throughout the Archdiocese.
A Lay Pastoral Assistant is defined as a lay person who is pastorally trained and theologically educated to assist the pastor with the daily spiritual and pastoral care of the faithful. In collaboration with the pastor that person can share in the liturgical, catechetical, pastoral care youth, social and administrative ministries.
The Guidelines for Employment include recruitment and selection, working conditions, development and evaluation, grievance procedures, and termination of pastoral services.
Catholic Parishes Compared to Other U. S. Religious Congregations
Congregations in America by Mark Chaves, Ph.D. (Harvard University Press, 2004), a study of church organization and life in the United States, was reviewed in a recent issue of The CARA Report. There are fewer than 20,000 Catholic parishes among the nation’s 300,000-plus religious congregations. Catholic parishes are much larger and do not have the autonomy and flexibility of their Protestant counterparts in determining many of the characteristics considered by the study. Some points of comparison are of interest.
- Seven percent of Protestant congregations (accounting for 5% of Protestants) are without any clergy or religious leaders, compared with 1% of Catholic congregations (accounting for 2% of Catholics.) Thirty-nine percent of Protestant congregations (with 18% of Protestants) have no full-time staff, compared with 33 percent of Catholic congregations (with 7% of Catholics).
- More than half of all Catholics are in congregations that sponsor schools, compared to 14% of conservative Protestants and only 5% of moderate and liberal Protestants.
- Ninety percent of Jewish congregations participate in “any social service, community development, or neighborhood project,” followed by 87% of Roman Catholics, 86% of moderate and liberal Protestants and 68% of conservative and evangelical Protestants.