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Archive for category Lay Ministry

In the Face of Death: A Ritual for Those Present at the Moment of Dying

The Diocese of Speyer, Germany, has created a brief ritual for those accompanying the dying and present at the moment of death. Different from the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, this blessing ritual (Sterbesegen) may be used by anybody, lay or ordained.

Shared Ministry and Divine Grace: Restoring the Diaconate in Orthodoxy

Note: This essay was first published by Public Orthodoxy, a blog of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University, on March 7, 2016. Republished with permission. The Orthodox world is buzzing with the recent news report on the ordination of deaconesses in the Patriarchate of Alexandria. To the best of our knowledge, the ordination […]

Viewpoint: Women Could Be Authorized to Give the Homily at Mass

The bottom line: opening up preaching to lay men and women after rigorous training and official episcopal commissioning as “Lay Preachers” could, I think, greatly improve the unsatisfactory state of preaching in the Catholic Church.


Viewpoint: Lay Ecclesial Ministry Programs Need Careful Implementation

Lay ecclesial ministry is still in the early stages of implementation and, understandably, exhibits some growing pains. Among these are a lack of clarity about this ministry and some exorbitant claims made for it.


Let Deacons Anoint the Sick

At present, Catholic Church discipline allows only priests and bishops to anoint the sick. I’d like to propose that, in light of the coming Year of Mercy, the Church consider an expansion of this ministry to include deacons and properly prepared and commissioned lay ministers among those who may anoint.


Viewpoint: What’s Broken in the Church’s Liturgy That Needs Fixing?

Not everything is as it should be in the Church’s liturgical life. There is much unease in some quarters, and many people have a vague feeling that something is amiss with the liturgy.


Liturgical “Make-Work” and the Symbolic Work of Liturgy

Is the attempt to have a high level of lay participation in ministerial roles in the liturgy simply a way to make those who fulfill those roles feel like they’re part of the action? Or does it serve the liturgy itself?

Viewpoint: Banning Altar Girls is Theologically Unsound and Pastorally Imprudent

In a January 26 statement, Fr. Joseph Illo, pastor of Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco, announced a new policy whereby altar girls at Mass would be phased out and thenceforth only boys would serve at the altar.


My New Book: Burke-Sullivan, Lawler and Salzman; The Church in the Modern World: Gaudium et Spes Then and Now

“We hope that all Catholics (and anyone else) who want to be better informed about Vatican II and Gaudium et spes and their relevance for the 21st century will buy the book and become active participants in realizing the communion, participatory model of church that Vatican II envisioned.”

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Pastoral Difficulties with Recently Ordained Priests

Training of priests must be “a work of art, not a police action. We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters.” – Pope Francis