The MAPS Day of Reflection is a unique opportunity for Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) students and graduates to gather with their ministry peers and dedicate time to their ongoing formation. This yearly gathering of professional lay ministers took place on Friday, May 20, at the seminary.
Most Rev. Michael J. Byrnes, auxiliary bishop of Detroit, presented an outstanding talk through which he fleshed out the reality, brought forward by Pope Francis and others, that we are living “not in an age of change but in the changing of an age.” He contrasted snapshots of Catholic Life in the 1950s and 1960s with the experience of the Archdiocese of Detroit today. The contrast brought into focus the new challenges lay ecclesial ministers face as they seek to make Jesus Christ the center not only of the institutions in which they serve, but also the foundation of the daily lives of all Catholics.
“We must be about mission—not maintenance,” the bishop emphasized, in order to spread the message of Jesus Christ to the world.
Bishop Byrnes stimulated conversion among the participants through certain provocative comments. For example, he critiqued some archdiocesan parishes as being “too big,” explaining that a parish with two thousand families is good—as long as parishioners are connected with one another through small groups that encourage growth in discipleship. He also elaborated upon on the need for parishes and Catholic schools to enter into ever-greater collaboration in the interest of saving souls.
Bishop Byrnes is the leader, delegated by Archbishop Vigneron, of the pre-Synod 16 activities in which the Archdiocese of Detroit is now engaged. He shared insights related to “Encounter, Grow, Witness,” the paradigm through which Synod 16 will view the process of evangelization in terms of encountering Jesus, growing continuously as his disciple, and witnessing to the world the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Fellowship among the lay ministers was in full swing, with prayer led by Dr. Janet Diaz, the dean of the Institute for Ministry, and with praise music led by liturgical musician Carl Clendening of Jesu Parish in Detroit. Participants attended Mass and shared a meal as part of their day together.
For more information on next year’s Day of Reflection, or similar events for lay ministers hosted at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, contact the seminary’s Institute for Ministry: email@example.com, or 313-883-8541.