The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith—but what happens if we do not have a priest to celebrate Mass with us? Then, the people of God, with lay leadership, can gather and hold a Sunday Celebration of the Word with or without the distribution of communion. 

Some time ago, the Diocesan Council of Priests and Personnel Committee began looking at the reality of our current clergy shortage. As we are all one family of God, so we share in the challenges and solutions for our Diocese. This led to creative exploration of ideas that would allow all to experience Mass and share in the Liturgy of the Word. For example, in more populated areas in the South Island, priests are serving more than one parish, freeing resources to minister to more remote communities. In others, lay leaders are trained to lead the Sunday Celebration of the Word, which is a beautiful liturgical celebration through which God's people are fed by Word and fellowship.

We know the power of Christ present in His word refreshes the Church. The Sunday Celebration of the Word will inspire and direct the encounter of human activity so that we, in solidarity with the whole human family will give witness to Jesus Christ and serve those in need.

We have absolute confidence that the Holy Spirit will help and encourage us to greet these opportunities by raises up lay leadership within the Church, within the people of God, within our parishes, who are qualified, able, and willing to help. Together, we will be collaborative and co-responsible; together we continue the mission of the Church.

To find out more, or to explore the possibility of becoming a lay leader for the Sunday Celebration of the Word, please contact Joelle Dressler by email at