Next year we celebrate 15 years since the release of the statement titled Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord focusing on Lay Ecclesial Ministry by the USCCB. This is the first official statement from our Bishops about the reality of professionally prepared laity providing ministerial leadership in U.S. parishes and dioceses. How far have we come in these 15 years and where do we still need to focus?

Please take five minutes and offer your input for our further reflection as we look to highlight this important document.

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* 1. Have you read Co-workers in the Vineyard of the Lord?

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* 2. The sub title of the document is “A resource for guiding the development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry.” Do you see this as a priority for the church? Why or why not?

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* 3. In the first section of the document, the Bishops highlight the theology of communion in the Trinity and call all the Church to embrace this communion among its members. Do you see the theology of communion being exercised in your pastoral setting between Lay Ecclesial Ministers and the Ordained?

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* 4. If no to question 3, what are a two or three basic things that need to happen to begin fostering this communion? If yes, what is fostering this communion in your experience?

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* 5. Of the four main topics in the Pastoral Application section in the Co-Workers statement, which one are you most familiar with?

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* 6. Of the four main topics in the Pastoral Application section in the Co-Workers statement, which one are you least familiar with?

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* 7. What do you feel is the greatest area of concern for Lay Ecclesial Ministers working in the Church today?

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* 8. From your vantage point, what issues in Lay Ecclesial Ministry need to be addressed in order to foster a thriving and vibrant work place today and for years to come in the Catholic Church? Please state your role as well as your comments. Thank you!

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