The United States bishops' document Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord is a vital resource for the ongoing development of lay ecclesial ministry. Building upon Co-Workers and affirming the recent renewal of the laity and the flowering of lay ministries, Reflections on Renewal contributes to efforts to reshape ministerial language and practices in the church today. It explores the theological and pastoral foundations of ministry, including how all ministry is rooted in the sacraments of initiation, and suggests ways of refining or redefining our understandings of lay ecclesial and ordained ministries so that we as church can respond more fully to the call of God in our lives and world. At the same time, the book recognizes that lay ministry developed organically as the work of the Spirit and is, foremost, a cause for rejoicing.
This collection of essays is grounded in Fordham University's commitment to the church and its mission in the world. It honors the thousands of laypeople who have answered a call to serve the church in ministry.
Donna Eschenauer is the director of religious education and the catechumenate at the Cathedral Parish of St. Agnes in Rockville Centre, New York. She received her PhD from the Fordham University Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education. Her recent publication A Second Look at the Directory for Masses with Children appeared as a featured article for PrayTell, the blog of Liturgical Press and Saint John's School of Theology. Her book on the Triduum is forthcoming.
Harold Daly Horell is an assistant professor of religious education at the Fordham University Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education. He received his PhD from the Boston College Institute of Religion Education and Pastoral Ministry. His publications include Human Sexuality in the Catholic Tradition (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007), edited with Kieran Scott, and Horizons and Hopes: The Future of Religious Education (Paulist Press, 2003), edited with Thomas H. Groome.
This is an important and timely book for all who have a concern for present and future directions of lay ecclesial ministry in today's church and society. A rich and comprehensive gathering of writers from a range of disciplines present an analysis and review of key issues in contemporary ministry that are presently faced by both academics and practitioners. Forthright in the approach they take, the authors engage with the realities and complexities of renewal in the diverse and multi-leveled ecclesial communities of the post Vatican II era. A valuable book for pastoral theologians and for parish groups.
Dr. Maryanne Confoy, RSC, Jesuit Theological College, Melbourne, Australia
. . . an excellent source book of essential information for understanding lay ecclesial ministry coupled with keen critical reflections on salient issues attached to it. The editors, a lay ecclesial minister and an academic, have included essays from those closest to the USCCB document and those who reflect on it from a variety of helpful angles--historical, theological, educational, sociological, psychological. I heartily recommend it to those responsible for lay ministry formation and for all who want to probe the state of the question on lay ecclesial ministry.
Mercedes Iannone, Professor, Pastoral Ministries, St. Thomas University, Miami Gardens Florida
The thirteen essays in Reflections on Renewal provide a wide and deep perspective on pastoral life today.
American Catholic Studies
This volume presents a critical engagement on the vocation of lay ecclesial ministry in the United States. A `prophetic conversation' that justifies the need for a global and ecumenical reflection on renewal, particularly with the local churches of Asia, Oceania, Latin America and Africa, in which U.S. immigrant perspectives on ministry are rooted.
Faustino M. Cruz, SM, PhD, Visiting Professor in Practical Theology, Seattle University
Too often lay ecclesial ministry is approached as a response to the declining number of priests rather than both as a vocation rooted in Baptism and a work of the Spirit in our age. In Reflections on Renewal, editors Eschenauer and Horall engage readers in a collaborative, reflective process that both broadens and deepens the conversation. Bishops, theologians, and lay ecclesial ministers provide the foundational essays and reflective questions. Readers are taken behind the scenes of discussions that birthed the USCCB document Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, given a rich history and theology of lay ecclesial ministry, and provided with concrete ideas on how to foster renewal of ministry and the church.
Julia Upton, RSM, Provost, St. John's University, Jamaica, New York
The contributors to this impressive collection of reflections offer critical insights and pose provocative questions concerning the present and future direction of ministry.
In these times, the very future of the Church may well depend on the future of lay ecclesial ministry. Reflections on Renewal: Lay Ecclesial Ministry and the Church is a groundbreaking book that advances the conversation toward a new vision for lay ministry and indeed for all the functions and forms of ministry in the Church.
Thomas Groome, Professor of Theology and Religious Education, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Chair of Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry, Author of Will There Be Faith (HarperOne, 2011)