Prior to and since the Second Vatican Council, several ministries that had for a time been retained by the presbyterate (priests) were returned to the laity, and several new forms of ministry emerged.
The burgeoning awareness of the vocation of the laity as apostles to the secular world and stewards of the Church's mission as an evangelizer has given rise to the popular term "lay ministry" to refer to the active vocation of all the baptized.
This general ministry of the laity has at times also been called the "lay apostolate" and the "lay vocation". Included in this general lay ministry are several specific ministries designed to support the Church community, such as lector/reader, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, catechist, sponsor/godparent, teacher, pastoral council, finance council, music, etc. God has blessed each of us with gift(s). You too can serve.
In addition to this general lay ministry, there are a number of non-ordained people who have undertaken roles, that immediately prior to Vatican II belonged entirely to the ordained, including parish pastoral and catechetical staff, hospital and prison chaplains, campus ministers, and many other diocesan leadership roles. Today, even the Roman Curia includes a small number of lay ecclesial ministers.
Lay ecclesial ministry includes a broad category rather than a specific job title. It has been adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to "establish a framework to indicate what is common to many roles and responsibilities undertaken by lay persons, for example, Pastoral Coordinator or Moderator of a Parish, Pastoral Associate, Director of Religious Education, Youth Minister, Campus Minister, Hospital Chaplain."
I am grateful to all the lay ministers and volunteers of our two parishes. In many ways, you have continued to support our parish family with your talent and resources. God bless you.
Are you interested in becoming a lay minister or serving on any of our parish committees? Let’s talk! You are needed!!