The role of lay ecclesial ministers—professionally prepared laity who serve in leadership roles—is becoming critically more important in the life of the Catholic church. In Lay Ecclesial Ministry, theologians and pastoral leaders from diverse disciplines provide a deeper understanding, envision future direction, and offer inspiration for these new ministers and the community of the church.
Building on the themes of the first official document addressing lay ecclesial ministry, Co-workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2005, this book delves deeply into key topics. Authors reflect on dimensions of the Catholic tradition to enrich our understanding of this new reality of lay ministry in the church, to envision future developments, and to offer inspiration. Contributors draw on a variety of theological perspectives, including canon law, church history, ecclesiology, liturgy, and scripture, to ground understanding of lay ecclesial ministry within the Catholic tradition and to chart direction for further response to this newly emergent ministry. The book also offers inspiration and models of service to lay ministers, looking to stories of the saints and communities of vowed religious.
Lay Ecclesial Ministry is an essential resource for the Catholic community in understanding and building upon this new and increasingly important component of church life.
A milestone, Lay Ecclesial Ministry looks ahead as well as back to examine how the church is 'receiving' lay ecclesial ministry after some 40 years and how it integrates the ministers whom the Spirit has called into service. The book should be on the shelf of everyone who is following one of the most exciting developments to have grown up from Vatican II-lay ecclesial ministry. A thorough, well-rounded presentation of lay ministry today by a trusted team of experts in the field. -- Karen Sue Smith, editorial director of America In the rapidly changing paradigm of parish life, the presence and gift of lay ecclesial ministry is essential. Traditional models of leadership are evolving into dynamic life-giving forms that recognize that we all, lay and ordained alike, are co-responsible for the mission of the church. Timely and intriguing, Lay Ecclesial Ministry addresses the request of the U.S. bishops to revisit their landmark document Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord after five years. We have come a long way in responding to the needs of God's people, even as there is still work to do to recognize the ministerial gift of the Spirit in our time. -- Marti R. Jewell, School of Ministry, University of Dallas This volume gathers together leading voices to provide a comprehensive view of the history, status, and key themes surrounding the comparatively new phenomenon of lay ecclesial ministry. An excellent overview of the topic, it is essential reading for those interested in church ministry. -- Susan K. Wood, Marquette University The contributors are some of the most significant voices in the country in the development of a theology of ministry. It is a volume that everyone concerned about ministry-scholar and practitioner-will find illuminating and insightful. -- Christopher Anderson, executive director, National Association for Lay Ministry Zeni Fox's new book is exactly what the American Church needs to guide it in the most important development of pastoral practice in its history. Here are the right questions, the right people to answer them, and the right perspective to clarify this formidable gift of the Holy Spirit. This book takes the next step in helping the American Church to understand what God is calling it to be and to do. -- Paul Philibert, Conger Institute for Pastoral Development; author of Priesthood of the Faithful This collection is welcome as a contribution to the growing understanding of ministry in general and lay ministry in particular. * American Catholic Studies *