In celebrating World Vocations Day last Sunday (8 May 2022), we reminded ourselves to pray continuously for vocations to the priesthood, an urgent need in the Archdiocese today. An urgent need, too, is to find new ways for priests and people to work together in parishes. The time has come to commit ourselves to creative approaches that harness the time and talent lay people can make available and support them in developing their skills for use in the faith community.
The Lay Ministry Collection this weekend will therefore support the development of a variety of lay ministries, providing for more women and men to work alongside the priests and deacons. Our hope is that lay ministry will make a significant contribution to pastoral life into the future:
- Working in parishes as part of a parish team
Supporting and resourcing faith development
- Enabling people in parishes to work alongside each other to effect renewal
- Helping people to find their place by actively participating together in the life of their parish
- Building teams to accompany the moments that matter, especially in sacramental preparation for baptism, communion and confirmation, as well as supporting families at funeral time.
- Building communities that are faith-filled, co-responsible, active in social justice, welcoming and inclusive
These lay ministry roles are crucial for the road ahead. There is no other way. Indeed, there is more: our faith tells us that this is the way God is calling the Church to follow Christ today. Among the many dimensions of the way the Church is being transformed are not only the change in Western society and culture but also in the attention being paid to where God is leading people of faith. The Spirit of God is always at work among us: just as the Spirit was present in Jesus on the Cross, so the Spirit is among the People of God in these difficult times. Together with priests, lay ministers are enabling a new way of being the Church that is building hope and a new future for the people of the Archdiocese.
I ask you to be generous in your giving to the Lay Ministry Collection this Sunday, aware that the pastoral needs of the diocese have changed and grown, as has the need for all kinds of lay ministries.
Working together, let us strive to ‘put fresh heart’ (Acts 14:21) into our faith communities, like Paul and Barnabas, encouraged by the hope we have in the Risen Lord and in the Spirit he sends to challenge and renew us.
+ Archbishop Dermot Farrell
(More details here)