Ministry of Church Life
The parish offers an outstanding example of community apostolate, for it gathers into a unity all the human diversities that are found there and inserts them into the universality of the Church.
Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity
Second Vatican Council, 1965
The Ministry of Church Life is focused on the communion of all persons in the parish and the relationship of that parish to the larger community in which it lives. One of the insights of the Second Vatican Council was that all the baptized members of the Church share in the responsibility to build up the “Body of Christ, the People of God, and the Temple of the Holy Spirit.” In that sense, all members of the parish are called to the Ministry of Church Life.
The Constitution on the Church (LG #37) calls for greater “dialogue between laity and their pastors: in the laity, a strengthened sense of personal responsibility, a renewed enthusiasm, a more ready application of their talents…In this way, the whole Church, strengthened by each one of its members, can more effectively fulfill its mission for the life of the world.”
Church Life serves the overall health of the parish community, ensuring that all members of the community are drawn into its life and engaged in its activities. Church Life recognizes and affirms the diversity of all members of the community and seeks creative ways to embrace them all.
The Ministry of Church Life not only serves the internal communion of the Church, but serves as a catalyst for outreach to those who are un-churched, alienated from the church, or marginalized in society. Its goal is to reach out and welcome those who have been estranged. Church Life also takes the lead in finding ways to enhance ecumenical and interfaith activities in the larger community.
The overall purpose of a parish’s Ministry of Church Life is to develop stronger bonds within the parish, deanery and diocese.
- To welcome all into the faith community with warm hospitality.
- To promote faithful stewardship among all its members.
- To reach out and invite the un-churched and those alienated from the Church.
- To develop, plan and evaluate parish programs that will enable the entire parish to grow into a spiritual home.
- To analyze the communal needs of the parish community and to identify areas in need of development.
- To celebrate the diversity of peoples in the communal life of the parish (e.g., ethnic groups, age groups, the homebound, people with disabilities).
- To create opportunities to expand all ministries to more freely involve the diversity of the parish, reaching out in a particular way to any marginalized groups.
- To ensure good communication among all groups in the parish, deanery, and diocese, and to provide effective publicity for events.
- To initiate and support the growth of mutual understanding and common action among different faiths (ecumenism).
- To prepare a budget for the community-building needs of the parish.
- To encourage ever-increasing levels of participation of all ages in the life of the parish, deanery and diocese.
You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is a great multitude, where exclamations
are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more: the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity, the prayers of the priests.
St. John Chrysostom