Brian T. Olszewski, The Catholic Virginian


In commissioning six graduates of the Diocese of Richmond’s Lay Ecclesial Ministry Institute (LEMI), Bishop Barry C. Knestout praised them not only for their academic achievements, but for their faith and for being immersed in their vocations.

“What you bring to the work of the Church after this time of study and formation is much more than professional expertise and academic credentials,” the bishop said during the commissioning Mass, Saturday, June 15, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. “You bring an engaged faith and the joy of expressing a vocation of teaching and serving the community of faith.”

Bishop Knestout told the graduates, all of whom work in diocesan or parish ministry, that they were already bringing “the presence of Christ” to those they served.

“Now you not only bring Christ to the people you encounter, but you are also able in a more profound way to be an instrument of reconciliation, mending and repairing what has been broken by sin,” he said.

Referring to the academic, spiritual and human formation LEMI students receive, and noting that their work for the Church continues while they are in formation, Bishop Knestout praised them for the time they invested in the program.

“It is not easy to accomplish what they have over these years,” he said. “They do this additional work and study because of their commitment to the mission of the Church, because of their deep faith and because of their joy in furthering the Gospel in the lives of all they encounter.”