By Rose O’Connor | Correspondent and Staff Reports
The six women who were commissioned lay ecclesial ministers by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., Jan. 18, may have chosen different roads and paths along their faith journey, but they all share one important characteristic in their faith development. They have all responded to the Gospel call “to serve and not to be served.”
Bishop O’Connell presided over the commissioning of Lay Ecclesial Ministers in the context of Evening Prayer in St. Rose of Lima Church, Freehold. The newly commissioned and their parishes are: Teresa Ann Galvin Anderson, St. Paul, Princeton; Catherine Calandriello Collins, St. Justin the Martyr, Toms River; Karen Leah Cravens, Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony, Hamilton; Carmelle C. Durand, St. Gabriel, Marlboro, and St. Joseph, Keyport; Kyle Nelson Galante, St. Catharine, Holmdel, and Michelle Robbins, St. Rose, Belmar.
With this year’s commissioning, there are now 116 lay ecclesial ministers serving in the diocese in various areas of ministry in parishes, Catholic schools and on diocesan levels. Among the ways lay ecclesial ministers can serve include as directors/coordinators of parish religious education programs, pastoral associates, music ministers, parish business administrators and Catholic school educators.
Each of the six women has completed all of the spiritual, human, intellectual and pastoral requirements of the diocesan Institute for Lay Ecclesial Ministry, which provides formation for professional ministry to lay women and men who have leadership positions in the Church. Each of the six women also holds a master of arts degree in theology from either Georgian Court University, Lakewood, or La Salle University, Philadelphia.
Along with her ministry as a chaplain intern in St. Mary Medical Center, Langhorne, Pa., and work in sacred art (icon and illumination painting), Galvin Anderson is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion in St. Paul Parish as well as in the Medical Center at Princeton. She also serves on the spirituality committee for St. Paul School PTA.
Collins, who retired after a 36-year teaching career, serves on the RCIA team in St. Justin the Martyr Parish.
Craven is youth minister in Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton.
In addition to her occupation as U.S. Department of Labor/assistant area director, Durand serves in the ministries of spiritual direction and religious education in St. Gabriel Parish and St. Joseph Parish.
Nelson Galante, an artist by trade, serves St. Catharine Parish as a catechist and coordinator of the Confirmation class.
Robbins, a math teacher in Spotswood High School, is also involved in religious education and youth and young adult ministries in St. Rose Parish.
In his address to the newly commissioned lay leaders, Bishop O’Connell recalled his recent ad limina visit to Rome, reflecting on the statues in St. Peter’s Basilica which depicted some of the greatest saints in the history of the faith. He said he was reminded of the epsicopal motto that he chose when he was named a bishop in June, 2010: “to serve and not be served.”
“We celebrate this commissioning of lay ecclesial ministers and we celebrate the call to service,” said Bishop O’Connell. “A call to service that is no different than the call that each of those great saints heard in their times and in their lives, a call to serve Christ.”
Bishop O’Connell extended his thanks to the lay ecclesial ministers for “the service that you perform in the Church, with the Church and for the Church, and you do it not as a bishop, priest, deacon or religious but as a baptized Catholic.”
Bishop O’Connell concluded his address by quoting from the famous Broadway musical Les Misérables, “To love one another is to see the face of God.”
“As you serve and love one another -seek and see the face of God,” he said.
Bishop O’Connell blessed the pins designated for the commissioned lay ecclesial ministers and asked that the Holy Spirit “be with those who wear these pins to give them the graces they need to faithfully serve the Church.”
As has been the ILEM tradition, the newly commissioned lay ecclesial ministers presented the bishop with a gift of appreciation.
This year’s class acknowledged the many teachers that they encountered along their journey and affirmed Bishop O’Connell’s “Go and Teach” initiative. The class presented a monetary donation to the Foundation for Student Achievement which supports Catholic education in the areas of tuition assistance, technology and learning, scholastic enhancement, the arts, professional development for educators and health and fitness. Accepting the donation on behalf of Bishop O’Connell was Father Douglas Freer, vicar for Catholic education.
Speaking amidst her fellow ILEM classmates, family members and friends, Catherine Collins said, “This is a culmination of three years that were challenging but very fulfilling. I feel so blessed and it’s truly the best thing I ever did for myself.”
“I am very excited to take this experience and continue to serve in the Church,” Craven said. “It’s already been so beneficial to me in my role as youth minister, and I am excited to see it unfold in my ministry.”
“And Ellen has come to a lot of the ILEM program with me so it’s appropriate that she finishes at the commissioning with us,” she beamed as her toddler shared in the excitement of the evening with her extended ILEM family.[[In-content Ad]]
For more information about ILEM, visit: www.dioceseoftrenton.org/ILEM.