National News

Cardinal: Laity Share in the Mission of Evangelization

ST. LOUIS (CNS) – As the role of the laity in the Catholic Church expands, lay ministers have a co-responsibility with their ordained counterparts in furthering the Church’s mission of evangelization, said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.

The cardinal was the opening speaker at the Lay Ecclesial Ministry Summit June 7-8 in St. Louis. About 120 bishops and pastoral leaders reflected on “Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord,” the bishops’ statement on lay ecclesial ministry released 10 years ago. They also discussed the current landscape of lay ministry and what the future holds.

The summit, held prior to the bishops’ annual spring general assembly in St. Louis, was sponsored by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church and the Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service, with the support of the Committee on Doctrine.

There are more than 39,600 lay ecclesial ministers in the U.S., according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

They are primarily involved in religious education, sacramental preparation, liturgy and/or music ministry and general parish administration. Cardinal DiNardo said the bishops’ statement was a “watershed document” that offered a slice of a fuller picture of “delineating the meaning about co-responsibility among the faithful and the shepherds for the church’s mission of evangelization.”