All posts tagged: lay ecclesial ministry

Actualizing Baptism: The Font of Lay Authority

It seems the common experience of most lay people today in the United States Catholic Church that they are disengaged from the liturgical celebration unless made a part of an active ministry (Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Lector, Greeter, etc.). Yet, the documents of the Second Vatican Council point to the essential activity of the laity, whether part of an active ministry or not. The laity seem to have lost a rightful sense of authority when celebrating the liturgy. They see themselves as passive participants instead of active members of a Church communio. The decline in Mass attendance or engagement may be connected to this shallow self-understanding of lay identity that has seeped its way into the consciousness of so many Catholics. The rich rights and obligations of the laity articulated in the Code of Canon Law (CC 208ff.) spurred this essay, which seeks to flesh out a rightful authority of the baptized at liturgical celebration as baptismal priest and suggest a catechetical method for actualizing this authority. Baptismal Theology In Lumen Gentium, The Constitution …

The Art and Science of Ministry

Ministry is an art and a science; it’s both at the same time. The minister may be called to shift from one to the other seamlessly, as a dancer moves from foot to foot. In a parish setting, which is where I carry out my role in the ministry of pastoral care, the movement between the two is so swift it’s dizzying. The particularities in the care of each person call on the minister to embrace the art and science of ministry and put the two into practice concurrently. Ministry is an Art. The art of ministry is like how we’ve come to think of an encounter with a painting or lovely hymns—ministry flows out of the heart and employs the gut. As we think about artists, ministers trust their instincts, hone inborn talents, and embrace uninhibited creativity. To accompany someone spiritually, what is needed is a minister who has a personal relationship with Christ, a compassionate heart, the patience to listen, and confidence in the power of prayer. The single requirement is, very simply, …

An Invitation to Lead: Women in Lay Ministry

There is an extra spring in my step this morning knowing that today has been reserved, indeed set apart, to spend with both some of the youngest and oldest members of this parish community. After opening prayers they bound forward, from the left and right, towards the bright red book of the Gospels that I am holding and head to the lower church for children’s liturgy. This is indeed their community, one that the over 50 gathered have come to joyously participate in. With hands held together, in lieu of uncomfortable boredom, there are instead small voices raised and petitions uttered as the prayers of the faithful are spoken. Pausing momentarily, in the back of the sacristy after Mass, I am instantly reminded to thank the altar servers whom I personally helped train and scheduled to serve that day. A hoped-for beginning to a life of service and love, their gift can easily go unnoticed. Many of these altar servers (a large percentage of which are girls), I have seen “graduate” on to Eucharistic ministry, …