VINELAND — On Nov. 20, graduates of the Diocese of Camden’s Lay Ministry Formation programs were recognized at a liturgy here at St. Isidore the Farmer Church, Christ the Good Shepherd Parish, celebrated by Bishop Dennis Sullivan.
Family, friends and lay ministers gathered for the Mass and reception to support the 114 students receiving degrees and certificates from the Lay Ministry Formation Program University Study; Georgian Court University; College of St. Elizabeth; Neumann University; Villanova University; St. Joseph College of Maine; Dayton University; the Church Ministry Institute of Camden (CMIC); and the Instituto de Ministerio Eclesial de Camden (IMEC).
In congratulating those honored, Bishop Sullivan reminded them that their “formation is not for you, but for the honor and glory of God.”
“Unless your formation continues, the degrees and certificates mean nothing. At your workplace, in your work with schools and parishes, and with your family and friends, you act as agents of God’s love, assisting God’s plan and purpose for the world.”
After the liturgy, all were invited to a reception in the parish hall.
Sitting at one of the tables, with her husband, three daughters, and sister, was Tuyen Nguyen, who received her master’s degree in theology from Georgian Court.
Three years ago, she applied for the program, sensing that “God is calling me to do something” for his church. Today, she is the coordinator of religious education at Most Precious Blood Parish in West Collingswood.
“It’s time for me to give my gifts (God has given me) back to the community,” she said.
Elder Mendez, a Eucharistic minister and lector at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Lindenwold, held his degree from the Church Ministry Institute of Camden, as he noted his desire to “help people learn how rich we are, in having the Catholic faith.”
“I want to do all I can, to help others learn about Jesus Christ,” he said.
JoLynn Krempecki, director of Lay Ministry Formation for the Diocese of Camden, said that the liturgy is designed to raise “awareness of the need for the laity to step forward in ministry and service in collaboration with the clergy and the vowed religious…”
It also highlights the “rich formation offered by the diocese and “underscores the co-responsibility all the baptized have for the life and activity of the church.”
“The women and men who attended the Lay Ministry Mass are a sampling of those who serve God and God’s people in many ways — catechists, youth ministers, pastoral associates, sacristans, liturgical ministers, business managers, coordinators of outreach to the poor, initiation ministers, parish nurses, bereavement ministers, Catholic School teachers, and in so many more ways. They know well the obligation they have to be well prepared for these roles,” she said.