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Archives Journeys of lay ministers ‘have only just begun’

July 14, 2021

By Darcy Fargo

OGDENSBURG – After two years of classes, workshops, retreats and discussions, 20 individuals from around the diocese were commissioned by Bishop Terry R. LaValley as lay ministers on June 27.

The commissioning was held in St. Mary’s Cathedral in conjunction with vespers, evening prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours.

Catherine Russell, program coordinator for Formation for Ministry, kicked off the event sharing a reflection from one of the individuals who was commissioned.

“One of the candidates shared a reflection that I think pretty well sums up how all of you feel, and I’d like to share it with you right now,” Russel said. “These past two years have been life changing, to say the least. Throughout this time, I have been blessed with being able to share this experience with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, all of whom have become not just my friends but family as well. I thank God for having gifted me with such a loving, charitable and spiritually strong family of believers. Their inspiration and wisdom are the two things I will cherish for the rest of my life. Our journeys have only just begun. I pray each of my fellow ministers finds fulfillment and a joyful spirit in carrying out the ministry of Christ in his Church.”

Russell also advised the new ministers to remember advice given by Pope Francis.

“I just read recently something that Pope Francis said,” Russell said. “He talked about God’s style of pastoral work. He said there are three aspects: closeness, compassion and tenderness. That’s my wish for you 20 candidates: to remember those three words.”

In his homily, Bishop Terry R. LaValley noted that the new ministers are a blessing to the diocese and their parishes.

“We are blessed because you decided to participate in our Formation for Ministry program,” Bishop LaValley said. “You have taken the time to allow the lord, through his body the Church, to help equip you for discipleship.”

Bishop LaValley encouraged the newly commissioned to exercise their ministries with the joy of the Gospels.
“Saint Paul tells the Corinthians, blessed be God, the God of consolation, who encourages, who comforts us so that we may be able to encourage others with the comfort and encouragement we received from our God,” Bishop LaValley said. “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and minds of all who encounter Jesus. In his apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, the pope encourages the Christian faithful, encourages you and me, to embark on a new chapter, a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey for years to come.”

Bishop LaValley also encouraged the new ministers to cooperate with the Lord and others as they move forward in their ministries.

“This isn’t a graduation ceremony,” he said. “Far from it. This is a formal, public commitment of your continuing discipleship. Never forget that you are commissioned. That is – you’re on mission with your brothers and sisters, members all of the one body of Christ. We never serve alone. Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about your Catholic faith and for committing to share it with others.”

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