By formally installing catechists as lay leaders in an official, public ritual, Pope Francis , in this surprising move, is beginning a process of dismantling clerical control over sacramental celebrations, and empowering lay-leadership in sacramental ministries. This formal recognition of their call to pastoral service in their communities is a really a big deal, not only for the catechists, but for their faith communities who have called them forth.
Even though the catechists are technically under the authority of local bishops and priests, the reality is -in their ecclesial communities- they will function in ministries previously reserved to deacons and priests. And even though they are not ordained to "officially" preside at Masses or hear confessions, they will preach and conduct Communion Services and Reconciliation Rituals that will be sacred encounters. These newly- minted pastoral lay ministers -chosen by their communities- and officially installed by the Pope- are pioneering a new path to a more vibrant, participatory community-empowered Roman Catholic Church and to a renewed sacramental theology in which the people- not the clergy alone- celebrate sacraments.
Bridget Mary Meehan
Post a Comment