Over 50 Lay Ecclesial Ministers gathered for the annual LEM Christmas luncheon and mass. Archbishop Hart celebrated the mass and gave thanks to all LEMs for their continued service and faith witness to those in parishes, prisons and hospitals. Following lunch, the Archbishop presented certificates to all those who received accreditation in 2017 and those who will soon be retiring from ministry.
Retiring Pastoral Associates
The gathering was also an opportunity to acknowledge the work of retiring pastoral associates Maria George and Conny James.
Maria is retiring after more than 30 years of pastoral ministry. She was first accredited by the Archdiocese in 1988 and received accreditation as a Senior Pastoral Associate in 2007. Her mentoring, guidance and friendship has been an asset within her own ministering communities and to the many Pastoral Associates who have enjoyed working with her over the years. The Office has been grateful for her willingness to be a member on the working party for the establishment of the Secretariat and on numerous other occasions of support and encouragement. She has been an integral member of the Association of Pastoral Associates Melbourne and utilised her gifts in leadership in the coordination of many retreats and conferences culminating in a pivotal role in the planning committee for this year’s Vine and Branches conference.
Conny worked at Holy Saviour Vermont for 7 years and then following a break, began a new ministry at Narre Warren. The parish priest and parishioners of this diverse multi-faith community have great respect for Conny where she has been for a number of years. Conny is a woman of prayer, humble, encouraging, compassionate and caring. Earlier in her professional life, she was a secondary teacher and she effectively transferred her skills into ministry – as a negotiator, communicator, highly organised, a great speaker and a great listener.
The Office wishes both Maria and Connie well and thanks everyone for their attendance at this year's LEM Christmas gathering.