The annual Gathering of the Ministerium, scheduled for April 30, was begun to “get together to support each other, lay or ordained, in the great task of leading this diocese,” according to Father George Heyman, organizer.
Father Heyman, who also serves as director of continuing education at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Pittsford, added that the daylong gathering serves to assess “how lay ecclesial ministry relates to ordained ministry” now and in the future, based on the changing structure of parishes due to such issues as clustering and the priest shortage.
This theme also will be addressed in keynote talks that day by Edward Hahnenberg, assistant professor of theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio; and Sister Amy Hoey, RSM. Father Heyman noted that both speakers were instrumental in the development of “Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord” a document from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that serves as a resource for guiding the development of lay ecclesial ministry in the United States. It can be accessed by visiting www.usccb.org/laity/laymin.
The Gathering of the Ministerium, to take place this year at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rochester, was instituted in 2005 for people who serve in various leadership positions across the Rochester Diocese. Participants are invited by Bishop Matthew H. Clark, who had introduced the term ministerium — Latin for “body of ministers” — in 2001 to define those in the local church who exercise an official ecclesial ministry, whether or not they are ordained. Examples of such people are pastors, deacons, pastoral administrators, pastoral associates, religious-education coordinators, youth ministers, hospital chaplains, campus ministers, prison chaplains, Catholic-school principals, parish volunteers with significant ministerial responsibilities and diocesan employees. Last year’s Gathering of the Ministerium was attended by approximately 550 people.