MilestoneIn November 2011, the Australian Catholic Council for Lay Pastoral Ministry (ACCLPM) met for the first time. This was a new advisory Council for the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry. In establishing the council, the bishops recognised the unique contribution of lay ministers working alongside priests and deacons building up the Body of Christ.

The membership of the Council consists of women and men from different diocese across the country who have a variety of skills and experiences as lay pastoral ministers. We meet twice a year face to face and have a number of teleconferences in between. At our recent meeting we farewelled three of our original members.  We acknowledged with gratitude the contributions of Christine O’Halloran from the Archdiocese of Hobart, Greg Byrne from the Diocese of Maitland Newcastle and Heather Carey from the Archdiocese of Adelaide. We also thanked Bishop Les Tomlinson for his presence and guidance as our bishop’s representative over the past three years. It’s always a great privilege to work with people who bring their different gifts and experiences as well as their commitment to the People of God, generously contributing to the task at hand.

A significant milestone for the council was the launch of Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace at Proclaim 2108 in July. In one sense, the ACCLPM now enters into a new phase of its existence, as new members will be welcomed in the New Year. Our work moves to promoting and resourcing these guidelines, and giving practical assistance to dioceses and parishes in the area of lay pastoral ministry.

Lay Pastoral Ministry News is a vehicle for the Council to communicate both the work of the council and share the good news of lay ministers across the length and breadth of the country. As an advisor council to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, we would also hope it allows the voices of lay pastoral minister to be heard. We would love to hear your voice!

Kari Hatherell OSU