There’s a new book out involving a Xavier University professor, and it’s a best-seller—at least among bishops, priests and ministers. Edward Hahnenberg, an assistant professor of theology, helped write the guide to developing lay ecclesial ministers. Published last year, the book has drawn attention worldwide as the Catholic Church increasingly relies on lay ministers to do the work once done by priests and women religious.
It has also drawn attention to Hahnenberg, who was asked two years ago by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to lend his expertise to a subcommittee of lay theologians and bishops who were developing the guidelines. Hahnenberg, whose doctoral thesis focused on the topic, wound up doing much of the writing for the creation of several drafts, although the final version of Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord was the work of the committee.
“It was a great experience of collaboration between theologians and church leaders,” he says.
Hahnenberg now is being invited to speak on the topic, as more than 30,000 lay ecclesial ministers in the U.S. are being paid to lead ministries such as youth groups and religious education.