Bishop Salvatore Matano, the new bishop of Rochester, N.Y., is in the process of ending a 40-year custom of permitting lay ministers to preach at Mass. Most are women commissioned to preach by the former bishop, Matthew Clark. All have advanced degrees in theology and all have served for many years in various diocesan leadership positions. Many are or were parish administrators in a diocese where one-third of all parishes are without a resident priest. (And things are going to get worse. According to the diocesan website, the number of active diocesan priests is expected to decline from 140 to 62 by 2025 — a decline of almost 60 percent.)
“Preaching at Mass by prepared and gifted laity, especially laywomen, flourished under Clark, who interpreted church law broadly, though the practice actually began under his predecessor, Bishop Joseph Hogan. Clark, who retired in 2012, was nationally known for supporting expanded roles for women in the church.”
By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Speaking of the roles of the laity and of women in the Church reminds us that Voice of the Faithful® has long advocated for ordaining women to the diaconate. An example of the impetus for women deacons in the Church recently occurred in Ireland. When Bishop Kiernan O’Reilly of Killaloe Diocese began a permanent male diaconate, women began asking him to include them in his call for deacons. You may support them by writing to Bishop O’Reilly. His email address is email@example.com. Remind him that, “for the first half of its history, that is, for more than 11 centuries, women were ordained to the diaconate by bishops, within the sanctuary, with the laying on of hands.” (from the Voice of the Faithful document “Women Deacons: How Long Will It Take the Catholic Church to Open This Door“)