The National Catholic Review
Deacons as Co-Workers

Monsignor Rubino (“Fraternal Orders,” 1/4) might consider adding a seventh suggestion as “advice for young clergy”: View permanent deacons as brothers, co-workers in the vineyard of the Lord. There exists in our church in the United States an unhealthy tension between members of the presbyterate and diaconate communities. Fault can be found with both camps.

(Deacon) Barry Croce

Babylon, N.Y.

A Real Distinction

Pat Fosarelli’s account of her medical and theological career was great (“Healing Faith,” 1/18). Her distinction between the curing of disease and the healing of illness was most informative and comforting.

Mark Gnerro

Baltimore, Md.

Flexibility

Re “Dysfunctional” (Editorial, 2/15): I suspect America will want the filibuster back when the Republicans regain control of the Senate.

Joe Kash

Naperville, Ill.

Awaiting Change

Obama ran on a “change” platform. At the end of the day it is leadership that causes change to happen. Now we have Washington at its worst. Everyone is playing the blame game, including the president. Take a page out of the Clinton presidency. After congressional elections, he was wise enough to move to the center, because that was the only way to get things done. He was not perfect, but he accomplished a lot. Ditto for President Reagan. A leader is expected to get things done. President Obama is well liked, with good intentions. But his decision-making so far is wanting. It reflects a lack of senior political experience, poor judgment or a far left viewpoint. The people want him to succeed and solve our country’s problems. Let’s pray he chooses a different strategy to do so.

Michael J. Barberi

Carlsbad, Calif.

A Volunteer Army Too

I was pleased to see your article “Supporting Lay Ministers” (2/1). Kyle T. Kramer makes strong arguments in support of quality formation and remuneration for all professional lay ecclesial ministers. I want to add to this a call for support of programs to train and form another category of lay pastoral leaders—those who give of themselves as volunteer leaders in our parishes. As director of the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Pastoral Institute, I administer with my staff a three-year program that has trained close to 500 volunteer lay pastoral leaders since 2001. A 2009 survey of these found that 395 persons are currently actively engaged in parish ministry, most of them in more than one ministry.

We are thankful for these leaders, as well as the 240 people currently enrolled in the program, who have answered the call to ministerial leadership, and for the instructors, mentors, retreat leaders and ministry supervisors for them. We pray that many more will accept the challenge to be formed as lay church leaders for the 21st century and for the support of similar programs throughout the country.

Gerald Tortorella

Douglaston, N.Y.

Recently in Letters