Lay Ministry Fair Nov. 3 in Blackwood


A priest who attended the Second Vatican Council as a seminarian, and who has spend decades fostering lay leadership in the church will be the keynote speaker at the Lay Ministry Fair.

Father Joseph Merkt is the author of the recently published book, “Why Lay Ministry Formation? A Resource for the Inquiring.”

The event will be held Saturday, Nov. 3, at St. Pius X Spiritual Life Center in Blackwood. It begins at 9:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast.

Father Merkt has spent the past 30 years working with the laity of the Catholic Church. His talk is titled “Considering Lay Ministry? Turn Someday Into Now!”

Those being called to lay ministry “are faith-filled people, who need encouragement to help foster their faith, knowledge, and skills,” he said. “They need to grow in such a way, to participate in the New Evangelization.”

Fifty years ago, Frather Merkt was in Rome during the Second Vatican Council. As a seminarian, Father Merkt worked in the U.S. Bishop’s Press Office in Rome, gathering materials for each day’s session for the bishops. He was present for the second, third and fourth sessions of the council.

A priest of 45 years in the Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., Father Merkt holds a masters degree in Teaching from the University of Louisville, and a doctorate in Sacred Theology from The Catholic University of America.

He has also worked as director of Ministry Studies Programs at Spalding University in Louisville, and was instrumental in the development of the first common competency standards for the national certification of lay ministers.

For three years, he sat on the Board of the National Association of Lay Ministry.