SCRANTON – After taking numerous classes to learn more about their faith, two women were commissioned as lay ministers for the Diocese of Scranton during a special Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter on Oct. 26, 2021.
The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as principal celebrant and homilist.
The newly commissioned lay ministers are Michele Cohen from Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Brodheadsville and Kathy Grinaway from Saints Peter & Paul Parish in Plains.
“I wanted to learn more about my faith,” Cohen said when asked what prompted her to begin lay ministry formation classes. “I am always seeking more knowledge and want to be involved in my parish.”
“I’ve been involved with my church for a long time. I taught faith formation, I’m a Eucharistic minister, lector and I’ve been on parish council for a while,” Grinaway said. “I thought this sounded really amazing because it was a way for me to get to understand my faith better.”
Grinaway said the flexibility of the program’s online classes was particularly important for her since she works full time. She says she learned the most from a class on Vatican II.
“I was young, eight or nine, when Vatican II came about but I don’t think I understood the importance of the mission of the laity in Vatican II. That really stuck in me,” she explained.
“I loved all of the classes but especially the class on the Sacraments, the Old and New Testaments, Ecclesiology and my classes on Catholic Social Teaching,” Cohen added. “I loved exploring the encyclicals, which many popes wrote in regards to this, and learning more about many Catholic saints I admire who embody these teachings.”
Prior to their commissioning Mass, both women completed projects to put the skills that they learned into action. Cohen put together a “virtual walk” to Bethlehem to meet Christ for Christmas during the pandemic. Grinaway focused on getting more lay people involved in parish ministries by holding a ministry fair.
During the Lay Ministry Commissioning Mass, Bishop Bambera thanked both women for diving deeper into their faith to help their parish communities.
“We give thanks for your commitment and for your resolve to use the gifts that God has planted in your hearts to build up the Kingdom of God,” Bishop Bambera said.
Both women encourage others interested in learning more about their faith to get involved in the lay ministry formation program.
“The program consisted of great classes, great teachers and mentors, workshops, nights of reflection, retreats and spiritual direction which forced me to grow and reflect on my prayer life, my relationships, my presence in the world and in how I live the gospel,” Cohen said. “Sometimes, I didn’t like what I saw in myself and it was a struggle to persevere, to change things I knew needed changing, which I’m still working on.”
“It is so important for people, no matter their age, to keep learning about their faith. Even if it’s just a couple classes, they’ll get hooked because you will want to learn more,” Grinaway said. “I’m not going to quit being involved. I will never know everything but I’m going to try my best to do it. I just don’t think you can ever learn too much.”
For more information on the Diocesan Certificate in Lay Ministry, visit dioceseofscranton.org or contact Kitty Scanlan, Coordinator for Lay Ministry Formation at (570) 207-2213.