On the forefront of these considerations is Zeni Fox, associate professor at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey.She
is the author of New Ecclesial Ministry: Lay Professionals Serving the Church, and numerous articles on religious education, lay ministry and leadership in ministry.In a companion piece to O'Brien's recent article in Listening ("Recognizing, Naming, Developing and Fostering a Spirituality for Lay Ecclesial Ministers"), Fox points to the 1999 Subcommittee on Lay Ministry of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops which issued a report entitled Lay Ecclesial Ministry: The State of the Questions.The report makes clear, she
writes, "that there are ambiguities about how these laity [in ministry] should be understood in relation to laity in general, and how they should be incorporated into the relational (especially with the bishop) and organizational structure of the diocese, and questions about what formation is appropriate for them.This newness, these ambiguities, these unresolved questions are part of the context for exploring the question of their spirituality for ministry." Fox
concludes that because lay ecclesial ministry is a new development in the life of the church, the task of recognizing, naming, developing and fostering a spirituality for their ministry is also new.She
suggests that "the process of drawing on the tradition of the Church and attending to the realities of the lives of these ministers has already borne fruit in the faithfulness and fruitfulness of their ministry.Certainly, this work will continue."
Why no rite of public acceptance or installation for these ministers?
Here is an article waiting to be written, a study waiting to be undertaken, a concern not yet well articulated, an idea whose implications are not yet fully understood.