The Catholic University of America

Oral Presentation of D.Min. Treatise

Lauri Anne Reinhart

for the degree of

Doctor of Ministry

Thursday, November 07, 2013

2:00p.m., McGivney Hall 011

abstract

The Spiritual Development of Periodic Lay Ministers: A Six-Week Process using the Gospels for Ministerial Identity and Formation

Director: Abbot James Wiseman, O.S.B., S.T.D.

 

Laity serving the church most often receive training when they begin their periodic ministry; then, often, they receive no formation thereafter. The laity need more opportunities for spiritual growth that go beyond that of the technical training offered to beginners. They need formation that builds upon their experience in ministry and deepens their understanding of how ministry differs from just filling a need. We must not allow ‘ministry’ to become a synonym for ‘unpaid worker,’ but must instead encourage these members to develop their identity as ‘ministers’.

This project provided a six-week program for periodic ministers seeking more formation, utilizing the four gospels. Participants read and reflected on the gospels from the perspective of their ministry, responding in written form to fifteen passages per week. This was followed by weekly sharing in small groups, because, as Lumen Gentium says, “He has, however, willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness” (9). After one week on each gospel, the participants read and reflected on a document focused on ministry.

As the numbers of those serving the church increases, the leadership must meet them with opportunities that help them grow in their call to holiness. A periodic minister’s identity as ‘minister’ is an occasion for spiritual growth. This project provides one opportunity for deeper formation and growth as people respond to a call from God to build up the Body of Christ and make it a more vibrant organism.