The Guidelines have taken a big leap forward. The title of the document is “Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace: Lay Pastoral Ministers in the Church in Australia”. The text has been forwarded to the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry for approval and we are hopeful that graphic design work and inclusions of sample templates and so forth will be completed in the early part of 2018. All going well, the guidelines will launched in conjunction with Proclaim 2018 in Brisbane.
To give you a flavour of the guidelines, I have included the ‘Purpose’ section below.
Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace affirms the common vocation of the lay faithful, rooted in the sacrament of Baptism, to participate in the ministry of Christ. It expresses a deep appreciation for the ‘unique and irrepeatable’ contribution of each member of the lay faithful, on behalf of and for the good of the whole body of the faithful.
Within this common Christian vocation, Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace promotes the vocation of those lay people called to the pastoral ministry of service. The Australian Catholic Bishops support and encourage those who are called to serve Christ’s disciples in this way and acknowledge the theology of communion which underpins ministerial relationships of equality, mutuality and reciprocity.
Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace recognises the place of lay pastoral ministry within the common vocation of discipleship in relation to other forms of ministry. The vocations and ministries in the Catholic Church in Australia are diverse and complementary. The body of Bishops together with the Pope, priests, and deacons; consecrated religious priests, brothers, and sisters; and lay people work together in the Church and in the world.
Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace promotes and enables attitudes and practices of collegiality in order to best serve the pastoral needs of the Catholic Church in Australia.