Bishop Daniel Thomas, apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Cleveland, presided at the certification Mass for four new lay ecclesial ministers on Jan. 28 at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.
The new ministers are Pam Anthony, Milka Katic, Jacqueline Krejcik and Shawn Witmer.
It was the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, who was a Doctor of the Church and Angelic Doctor, as well as a well-known philosopher and theologian. In his homily, Bishop Thomas reminded the congregation that St. Thomas Aquinas focused on service marked by humility, fidelity and charity.
“We know he served with humility and fidelity to the Lord. He served with charity so as to better understand how to serve God,” Bishop Thomas said, noting the four new lay ecclesial ministers are being certified for service to the Church.
“To serve with humility, I must decrease and he (God) must increase,” Bishop Thomas said.
As for fidelity, he said there must be a desire to be ever more faithful to the Lord.
“And as for charity – love — always put it first when joining with your fellow lay and religious to serve God,” he added.
Bishop Thomas said St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the first teachers that seminarians – and others — should study because of his many writings and great contributions to philosophy and theology.
After St. Thomas’ death, the bishop said even his spiritual director said he believed that St. Thomas’ brilliance didn’t come from his studies, but from prayer. He connected those thoughts to a section of the first reading, from the Book of Wisdom: “I prayed and wisdom (understanding) was given to me.”
“Before all else, pray. None of us who serve in the Church accomplish anything unless we first pray. We accomplish nothing if we do not place ourselves second and the Lord first. We may not have the intellectual prowess of St. Thomas Aquinas, but we have the ability to pray,” Bishop Thomas said.
“May the service of the new lay ecclesial ministers be marked with humility, fidelity and charity. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted,” he added.
The new lay ecclesial ministers were presented to the bishop for certification by Kathy Haag, acting director of the Pastoral Ministry Office, which is located at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe. Each newly certified minister received a blessed pin from the bishop.
Anthony is a member of St. Mary Magdalene Parish, Willowick. Her ministry includes work as a Stephen minister and trainer for Stephen ministry, pastoral care minister, RCIA team member at St. Mary Magdalene and RCIA coordinator for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Wickliffe.
Katic is a member of Divine Word Parish, Kirtland. Her ministry includes serving as coordinator of confirmation preparation for teens and adults at St. John Cathedral, catechist for children and pastoral care minister at Divine Word.
Krejcik is a member of St. Malachi Parish, Cleveland. Her ministry includes serving as spiritual development coordinator, member of Samaritan Ministries and a presenter in semiannual addiction awareness workshop, Ecumenical Care of Creation outreach facilitator, member of parish pastoral council and liturgy committee, Eucharistic minister and sacristan at St. Malachi and spiritual and retreat director.
Witmer is a member of Our Lady of the Lake Parish. His ministry includes serving as a pastoral associate/parish catechetical leader, coordinator of PSR and sacramental preparation, RCIA coordinator and member of the Newman Foundation of Northeast Ohio board of directors.