Approximately 60 members of the Diocesan Lay Ecclesial Ministers’ Association (LEMA) met with the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge at St. Raphael the Archangel Church in Raleigh, Saturday, August 25, 2012, for the annual Celebration of Lay Ministry. The Celebration is a liturgy at which Bishop Burbidge honors lay ministers who are retiring, marking significant anniversaries of service, or have recently completed degree or certificate studies.
The gathering began with the celebration of Mass by Bishop Burbidge, during which citations for anniversaries of service were presented to eight of the ministers. Several were cited for 30 years of service.
After Mass, the ministers gathered for a luncheon and the presentation of certificates to those who in the last year had earned the designation of Master Catechist, followed by a conversation with the Bishop. The dialogue began with questions asked of the Bishop, followed by input from all those in attendance. Topics covered included prison ministry; suggestions for increasing the Catholic presence on university and college campuses; alliances with secular organizations whose missions were compatible with the Church’s; and the U.S. Bishops’ efforts to promote Faithful Citizenship and to increase religious and Priestly vocations.
In response to the question on vocations, Bishop Burbidge said that the most vital need was prayer. “There are a lot of great videos, programs, discernment groups, and so on, and they are all essential," he said. “But prayer is the most important.” He also cited the importance of inviting young people to consider Priesthood or religious life, and the critical role played by families in supporting their children in discernment. Asked to name people who had inspired and supported his own vocation, the Bishop named Blessed John Paul II, his parents and his educators.
LEMA is an association designed to provide for the spiritual and professional development of lay ecclesial ministers. In conjunction with the Office for Lay Ministry, LEMA provides a day of reflection for lay ecclesial ministers each spring and an October gathering focusing on a particular aspect of ministerial formation.
Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge delivering homily at Diocesan Lay Ecclesial Ministers’ Association Mass. Click photo to view larger.
Above: Recipients of special recognition at annual meeting held at St. Raphael Catholic Church in Raleigh. From left to right: Patricia Gallagher, Laruen Green, Camille Grupy, Denise Jones, Barbara Quinby, Tony and Jackie Tucci and Gladys Whitehouse. Click photo to view larger.
Above: Bishop Burbidge during question and answer session during gathering of Diocesan lay ministers. Click photo to view larger.