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Issue Date:  January 14, 2005
Creative spirit

Two millennia of the Catholic imagination extends to imagination in service of God’s people, from the founding purpose of many a religious order to the growth of lay ministry since the Second Vatican Council. And if the strictures of the institutional church become too confining, ministry may take a little thinking outside the ecclesial box, as Karen O’Brien suggests in her essay ( see story). Creating a nurturing environment for lay ministry may take “inventing those environments and institutions ourselves,” she writes.

“Go and preach the good news with or without the church’s money or blessing. Start something out of your living room with a couple of like-minded friends and a cause.”

In this section, Patricia Lefevere profiles three ministries started with some of the creative spirit that O’Brien encourages. Featured on Page 2a and the section’s cover are Sue Clark and her dogs, who “serendipitously” happened into their pet ministry when Clark overheard an elderly woman express how she missed the family dog while living at a nursing home ( see story). Medical Mission Sr. Lucy Klein-Gebbinck founded Camden Wellness to bring holistic health care to the people of the poverty-stricken city of Camden, N.J. ( see story). Lefevere also writes on Page 11a about Kathy DiFiore, who felt called to combat abortion by offering shelter, guidance and support to pregnant women in difficult situations ( see story).

Writer Rose Ann Palmer looks at the lifelong work of Sister of St. Joseph Elaine Roulet who advocates for women in prison and their children ( see story). And NCR columnist Kris Berggren explores the work of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Paul, Minn., where they sponsor Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality, which brings adventurous theology and ritual to spiritual seekers ( see story).

Finally, O’Brien’s essay is joined by Paige Byrne Shortal’s reflections on ministry within the Catholic church ( see story). In her examination of the sources of authority that lead to the most effective ministry, lay or ordained, Shortal looks with a fresh eye at how the people of God suffer when leadership is out of balance, but also find ways to compensate.

-- Teresa Malcolm

Other articles in this issue
Brother uses local symbols to beautify Mongolian cathedral
By UCA News
Delegation hears stories, needs of women inmates
By Ellie Hidalgo

National Catholic Reporter, January 14, 2005

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