Msgr. John Burton, Vicar General and pastor of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Vineland, and priests of the Camden Diocese celebrate the annual Mass for Lay Ministry Formation Nov. 5 at St. Mary of Mount Carmel Parish, St. Anthony of Padua Church, Hammonton.
Photo by James A. McBride
More than 250 people attended the Nov. 5 annual Mass for Lay Ministry Formation. Included in the assembly were students in the various lay ministry formation programs offered through the Camden Diocese, their family and friends, alumni, representatives from partner universities, instructors and diocesan staff. The celebration was held at St. Mary of Mount Carmel Parish, St. Anthony of Padua Church in Hammonton. Mass was followed by a reception in the church hall.
Msgr. John Burton, Vicar General and pastor of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Vineland, was principal celebrant. Priests of the Camden Diocese concelebrated and Deacon Paul Bubeck assisted.
Summary of Comments
Bishop Dennis Sullivan
At the end of Mass, Bishop Dennis Sullivan addressed those assembled, speaking in English and Spanish. Bishop highlighted the New Evangelization as the focus for all ministry. “The Church needs each of you in the New Evangelization,” he said. “Jesus told us “go and teach.” To do that we need to be missionaries at heart. The New Evangelization is about having a missionary spirit.” Bishop taught that Evangelization is not a new concept. In fact, it is as old as the Church, but we are now called to look at it in a new way. We need to now evangelize the baptized. For centuries we have been reaching out to those who did not know Christ. We need to still do this, but today there is another need – to go and teach the baptized – those whose faith is lukewarm and without luster, whose faith doesn’t give them joy. Bishop quoted the words of St. Paul – we need “to stir into flame” the faith of the Church.
Quoting Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, a great evangelizer, Bishop said the first words of Jesus’ earthly ministry begin with “Come” and the last words of Jesus on earth started with “Go.” Addressing those who have been formed for ministry through the Lay Ministry Formation Programs of the Diocese, he said that they have listened to the call of Christ to come- to come to know the Lord through their studies, to come to learn, to come to follow Jesus more closely. Now they are being called upon to go. He said, “You are being sent out into a world where God is denied, where people think there is no need for God. It is a society of consumerism, hedonism, accumulation of wealth….” Bishop said that this is the world in which the laity live, and it will take great courage on their part to minister there. “But we need you. God’s people need you. You have come to seek formation for ministry. Now go and evangelize in your parishes, your work, and your communities.”
Bishop concluded his comments with a word of gratitude to the Lay Ministers for preparing themselves for service through the Diocesan Lay Ministry Formation Programs.