Every baptized Christian is directly responsible for the primary mission of the Church: evangelization. Pope Benedict XVI recalled this in an address in 2012, saying that lay people “should not be regarded as ‘collaborators’ of the clergy, but, rather, as people who are really ‘co-responsible’ for the Church’s being and acting.” Pope Francis has claimed that “in some cases, lay persons have not been given the formation needed to take on important responsibilities” (Evangelii Gaudium, §102), to the extent that every member of the Church is empowered as distinctly but fully called and co-responsible for the Church’s mission.
The nature of the COVID-19 outbreak presents parishes with a very new challenge. People cannot leave their homes, but most people are still able to do things, just only in their homes. Thus, for now, ministry must occur primarily in the digital sphere. As an Echo student, I live with church ministers and work at a parish. I know firsthand that transitioning ministry online is hard, and, honestly a little weird. But even in the past three weeks, it’s clear that making the transition is far from impossible, and it can actually be quite beautiful. Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. One of the implications of this truth is that humanity, sufficiently open to God’s grace, is creative—and with a virtually brand-new ballgame of ministry, a lot of creativity must be had, so I hope to offer a few ideas here that parishes can implement to digitally engage their parishioners, as well as provide a good bit of hope.
The greatest joy of my ministry as a middle-school religion teacher is seeing the faces of my students. Sixty-eight of them pass through my classroom each school day, every one of them a reminder that my work is primarily for another. Despite the multitudinous challenges they present, my students have taught me the truth about service. The joy which comes from working first and foremost for the good of someone other than myself has astounded me, concretizing for me the truth that ministry is life-giving because it is, and only insofar as we receive it as, a face-to-face encounter with Christ.
Editorial Note: This month, we want to hold up women working in the Church whose dedication to ministry and service of God and neighbor is nothing short of inspiring. We hope you'll be inspired by their stories too.
Monday, January 13 marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of the McGrath Institute Blog. Over the past year we have published articles meant to help our readers live and hand on the Catholic faith, especially in the family home and parish. Our writers have shared their personal experiences of faith, provided suggestions for how to deepen one's prayer life, recommended spiritually enriching books, and more. Featured below are the ten most popular posts we published over the past year. Thank you to each one of our readers for following along with us this year and allowing us to share in your journey of faith.