The work of the Australian Catholic Council for Lay Pastoral Ministry (LPM) began in late 2011 as the Australian bishops recognised the call to ministry of lay people and the generosity in responding to this call by so many across this vast land. In more recent years the Office for Lay Pastoral Ministry was established, and along with the Office for the Participation of Women, has been well served by Andrea Dean.
Over the last eight years the Council has researched the reality of lay ministry leading to the 2016 Christian Research Association’s publication, Exploring Lay Pastoral Ministry in the Catholic Church. We then commissioned the national resource, Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace published by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2018 (copies available through the ACBC Shop). We had envisaged that the council would continue to work on the recommendations from this document as we seek to promote, resource and support the ministry of lay people.
Due to a number of circumstances the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, meeting this week, will make some significant changes to all the Councils that have been established to advise the bishops on their particular area of expertise. The decision has already been made not to continue with the Office for Lay Pastoral Ministry and the Office for Women. There is a strong indication that the Australian Catholic Council for Lay Pastoral Ministry will be changed, possibly being assumed into a broader council. And so, this is possibly the final Lay Pastoral Ministry News in the current format.
As we journey through this time of the Plenary Council I feel confident that the call for lay people to participate as fully as possible as disciples of Jesus in the life of the Church will be highlighted. I trust that the particular call to pastoral ministry within parishes, schools, universities, hospitals, prisons and many other fields of mission will continued to be nurtured through formation, support and career opportunities.
I thank all who have been involved in the life of the Australian Catholic Council for Lay Pastoral Ministry; it’s been a rich and fruitful journey.
Kari Hatherell osu
Australian Catholic Council for Lay Pastoral Ministry