BALTIMORE—Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, invited the U.S. bishops to a 2015 Lay Ecclesial Ministry Summit. He made the invitation during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Fall General Assembly, November 11, in Baltimore. The gathering will take place June 7, 2015, to mark the tenth anniversary of the bishops' statement "Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord" (2005), just prior to the USCCB Spring General Assembly in St. Louis.
"Lay ecclesial ministry is a great gift to the Church, arising from the distinct vocation and mission of the laity," said Bishop Malone in his address to the General Assembly. "The tenth anniversary of 'Co-Workers [in the Vineyard of the Lord]' is a wonderful opportunity for us to take stock of the fruits of the last ten years and to devote special attention to this area of the Church's life, including developments and questions that continue to merit reflection."
The Summit will be an opportunity for bishops, in consultation with pastoral leaders, to reexamine the current ministerial landscape and explore the realities, challenges, and opportunities facing those in lay ecclesial ministry. With an emphasis on the co-responsibility of all the faithful for the Church's mission of evangelization, the summit will consider issues including the relationship between the lay apostolate and lay ecclesial ministry, emerging pathways for culturally and generationally diverse populations, formation and authorization of lay ministers, the state of parish workplaces, and the co-responsibility of lay and ordained leaders in the Church.
The summit is sponsored by USCCB's 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.
"The urgency of the New Evangelization and the call to be missionary disciples resonates in our hearts and the hearts of all the faithful," Bishop Malone concluded. "Lay ecclesial ministers respond to this call in a unique way, serving the Church and being a witness of hope and encouragement to all. We are grateful for all those who serve as lay ecclesial ministers and for their 'yes' to the Lord's call."