LAY LEADERS COMMISSIONED AS PART OF “CALLING RITE” at
St. Monica Parish
CHICAGO (May 1, 2006) - Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, will preside at a 3:30 p.m. service on Sunday, May 7, at St. Monica Parish, 5136 N. Nottingham Ave., Chicago, during which approximately 80 members of the laity will be “called” to service as lay ecclesial ministers.
One-third of the group will be called as Pastoral Associates, who will work closely with pastors in providing parish leadership, the others as Directors of Religious Education, according to Keiren O’Kelly, Director of the Office for Lay Ecclesial Ministry for the Archdiocese. Included for the first time will be graduates of the Together In God’s Service (TIGS) program, an Archdiocesan sponsored spiritual formation process that candidates for lay ecclesial ministry participate in as they are pursuing their advanced degrees at Roman Catholic theological schools. Certified Pastoral Associates and Directors of Religious Education must have a masters degree in pastoral studies or a related field and complete the TIGS program that assists them in discerning their call to ministry while supporting them spiritually and financially.
The Calling Rite will include a reaffirmation of baptismal promises for participants and a public commitment to work collaboratively with the clergy. “In Baptism,” notes O’Kelly, “we are already set aside for God’s service. This Calling Rite commits the lay ministers to live the gospel personally and publicly in service to the Church.” Each of those called during the service will be commissioned in a letter from the Cardinal to the parish of employment as either a Pastoral Associate or Director of Religious Education.
“The service of these lay ministers in the church,” says O’Kelly, “is distinguished, not only by the credentials and preparation required for these ministries, but by the fact that they serve with authorization as leaders committed to collaboration and with the responsibility of their own continued education and formation.”
There are 81 certified Pastoral Associates in the Archdiocese of Chicago and 53 certified Directors of Religious Education.