The post Easter season in parish is often a time for celebrations of First Eucharist and Confirmation. Has this been the case for you? Strangely, the season we are currently in, is called ‘Ordinary Time’. I say ‘strangely’ because it doesn’t seem like any days or week are ordinary or quiet.
Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force. Often it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference and cruelty.
Welcome to the first edition of Lay Pastoral Ministry News for 2017. It is going to be exciting year, particularly with the National Pastoral Leaders and Planners Conference in Melbourne during September.
In September, the Proclaim Conference in Sydney reminded us of the words of St John XXIII, that the parish is “the village fountain, from which all can drink, finding in it the freshness of the Gospel.” Besides the rich array of keynotes, stalls and workshops, what was particularly striking was the mix of delegates. Lay participants formed the overwhelming majority of participants, and snatches of conversation in small groups and over meal breaks revealed a staggering diversity of ministries being engaged in by lay people from almost every diocese. These are the people working alongside our ordained to ensure the work of the church continues. If the parish is truly to be the “village fountain”, then it is the work of the ordained and lay to bring the waters to the village, and invite people to taste of these waters.
The many laypeople who are involved in professional lay pastoral ministry bear witness to the reality of the lay vocation to public and formal ministry in the Church. These laypeople remain active in the Church, and persevere in their ministry, despite any uncertainties about the value, quality and sustainability of their ministerial roles. They strive to serve the mission of the Church when people they serve do not always fully comprehend their duties and responsibilities, when relationships with colleagues are strained, and when inadequate employment structures leave them susceptible to isolation and burnout.