Dr. H. Richard McCord, the recently retired executive director of the Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, presented insights on trends in lay ministry, and their roots in Vatican II as the fall, 2012 Sacred Heart School of Theology Dehon Lecture.
The Oct. 24 talk, entitled “Moving from the Margins to Mission: U.S. Catholic Laity in Leadership and Ministry after the Second Vatican Council,” was a central part of the seminary’s annual Alumni Gathering, drawing scores of priests and lay church leaders from around the United States.
McCord, a widely published author and highly sought after lecturer and consultant on various aspects of church life, mission and ministry, commented, “Although lay ecclesial ministry is not mentioned explicitly in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, its development in the United States can be traced to elements in both the teachings and the spirit of the Council. He discussed ways these foundational elements can be resources for addressing current challenges and possible directions in lay ecclesial ministry as a particularly American response to Vatican II.
The topic was selected to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 25th anniversary of the Master of Arts Program at Sacred Heart.
Sacred Heart’s M.A. Program has prepared many lay people – alongside men preparing for priesthood in the Master of Divinity Program – for roles such as chaplains and parish pastoral associates.