The annual Speaker Series for lay ecclesial ministers (LEM) will be presented by Sacred Heart Major Seminary on Thursday, November 11th. This year’s topic will be, “Unleashing the Gospel through Catholic Social Teaching in our Daily Lives and Ministry.” The conference will be held on Zoom and will include a talk, small-group break-out sessions, and a Q&A session.
Dr. Michael McCallion, professor of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, planned the event in his role as Interim Dean to the Institute for Lay Ministry. He expects over a hundred lay ecclesial ministers and other guests to tune in for the “fuel” they need in their ministry.
“The goal is to gather lay ecclesial ministers, not just for a theological update, but also for a recharging of their batteries to implement and carry out ministries in their parishes,” said McCallion, who will act as the emcee.
This year’s Speaker Series will feature a talk by keynote speaker Fr. Don Archambault, who served as pastor at Corpus Christi Parish in Detroit for over thirty years. Fr. Archambault will share stories of his time accompanying parishioners and community members at an urban parish and will discuss how Catholic social teaching fits into parish life and ministry.
“When we talk about social justice and Catholic Social teaching, they’re not real to us like the Gospel,” Fr. Archambault said. “Where do our efforts fit into our unleashing of the Gospel?”
Fr. Archambault will focus on the themes of the dignity of the person, solidarity, subsidiarity, and the common good. He cites Matthew 25:25-45 as the Scripture passage that speaks to him most directly on Catholic social teaching.
“There’s an experience of exchange. Both those who are in need and those who are sharing are both experiencing the presence of the Lord, and that’s what we are seeking in our life—his presence,” said Fr. Archambault.
McCallion asked Fr. Archambault to speak at the web conference because of the way he ministered at Corpus Christi and the way he continues to do so in his retirement.
“In his encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti,” as well as some of his latest statements about the common good, Pope Francis reminds us that Catholic social teaching is rooted in the self-giving love of Christ. And that’s what Fr. Archambault has done his whole priesthood,” McCallion said.
Led by Fr. Archambault, attendees of the 2021 Speaker Series will explore the question: how do we continue to be open to learning of the mystery of God through other people?
“I think we can get caught up with the issues and don’t get to the basic spirituality of the Gospel, which is the reign of God permeating the world all around us,” said Fr. Archambault.
McCallion hopes the event will return to an in-person format next year, which typically draws 300 people for a luncheon and program at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. At the same time, he notes that hosting the conference on Zoom again this year will allow anyone to attend, including lay people who are not lay ecclesial ministers.
The Speaker Series will take place on Thursday, November 11th from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM on Zoom. To register, visit LEM Speaker Series (shms.edu).