Thursday, March 27, 2014

Moving Forward in Hope and Love

When I moved to Rochester from Long Island in 1995 and joined St. Joseph’s Church, I was surprised to see women preaching at the time of the homily. My surprise soon gave way to a new way of understanding our shared responsibility for the vitality of our Catholic community, and the need to develop our talents in the service of God and each other. Like the Samaritan woman in this past Sunday’s Gospel and the man born blind this week, my faith slowly deepened and I ultimately understood myself as called to ministry.

For the past five years, as your pastoral associate, my ministry has included occasionally offering Scripture reflections at the Mass. Authorized by Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark for lay preaching in 2009, I took this sacred privilege very seriously. My formation has included six years of study at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, receiving a Master of Divinity, and ongoing Scripture study.

I am deeply grateful for the exchanges I have had with so many of you in dialogue with what I have shared in my reflections.  I am deeply grateful to Bishop Emeritus Clark and Father Jim Schwartz for entrusting me with this ministry.

The matter of canon law relevant to preaching at the time of the homily is currently being reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Most Reverend Bishop Salvatore R. Matano.  My reflections at St. Joseph’s Masses have been addressed in the early part of this process.  In compliance with canon law and more recent Church documents, I will no longer be reflecting on the Scripture in the context of the Mass.

Moving forward, Bishop Matano is encouraging to me in my ministry with you. I very much appreciate words he wrote to me, “To be sure, your love for Our Lord, the Catholic faith and the Church is quite evident, and I pray you will continue to use your talents to build up the Body of Christ.”  Please join me in praying for Bishop Matano and his ministry with us, his care and concern for all so beautifully demonstrated when he was with us this past Saturday evening.

I recommit myself to using my talents to build up the Body of Christ.  I hope to refocus some of my energy and gifts on new forms of adult formation and Scripture study. And there’s my new-found love, social media! If you want to follow my ramblings on a daily basis, follow me on Twitter @cathykamp or Facebook at Cathy Kamp. Weekly, check out “Cathy’s Journal” at If you have other ideas or suggestions, please be in touch.

Humbly, I seek your prayers as I reflect on what this change means for me and other lay ministers in the Catholic Church. I thank you for the gift and the joy of being your pastoral associate at St. Joseph’s. You are ever in my prayers.



1 comment:

  1. Cathy: Thanks for sharing this news in such a classy, high-road, positively oriented manner.

    Here is a short excerpt from "The Future Church" by John Allen, veteran Vatican reporter, and Associate Editor of the Boston Globe.

    "Advocates for expanded lay roles often point out that the dynamism of primitive Chritianity was not created by priests and bishops, but rather by lay Christian women and men who were on fire with the gospel and who carried its message into every walk of life, thereby transforming the ancient world. From that point of view, it is not broad lay activisim that requires explanation or theological justification, but rather the way this lay role was progressively constricted over the centuries by the emergence of clerical structures and a specialized caste of spiritual heroes. Yet from a historical point of view, the expanding of lay roles roles of the 20th and 21st centuries are not merely a matter of returning to earlier models, even if these models provide inspiration and points of reference. The trend is also a result of the intersection of...historical forces...which seem to augur further movement in the direction of lay activism."