1st world meeting of professional lay ministers

Beyond clericalism, for the people's sake - on the empowerment of non-ordainend ministers

1th October – 5th October 2023, Rome

On the occasion of the World Synod of Bishops, theologically educated pastoral lay ministers from all continents will meet in Rome. These professional lay ministers get to know about each other, meet and listen to each other. 

The world meeting aims at an empowerment of lay ministers in various countries all over the world, i. e. of non-ordained but theologically educated professional pastoral ministers. Their various and already long given reality in the Roman Catholic Church still seems to be overshadowed by other ecclesial perspectives. This ministry reveals an ecclesiological alternative to the “classical” dualism between clergy and laity. 

The outcomes of the sharing and reflection, which the world meeting will offer, can influence the processes of the World Synod of Bishops. Therefore, in addition to the exchange of lay ministers on the different continents, there will also be a sharing and reflection with representatives of the Dicastery for the Laity and the Synod Secretariat, as well as with bishops of the universal Church.

The aim is to assemble around 20 lay ministers,as well as representatives of academic theology from different countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe.

The initiator of this meeting is the Association of professional Pastoral Ministers in Germany, which at this moment might be the largest organization of full-time lay theologians in the world. We also provide travel expenses for all participants


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Preparation-team is the Theological Advisory Board of the "Berufsverband":


university members:

Prof. Dr. Christian Bauer, University of Innsbruck, Austria - Professor of Pastoral Theology
Prof. Dr. Norbert Köster, Univerity of Münster, Germany - Professor of Historical Theology
Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Sander, University of Salzburg, Austria - Professor of dogmatics
Prof. Dr. Hildegard Scherer, University of Essen, Germany - Professor of  Biblical Theology
Johannes Frenz, University of Münster, Germany - doctor edge

lay ministers (Pastoralreferent*innen) in Germany:

Thomas Bergmeister, Geretsried and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, working in the youth pastoral and a parish

Dr. Konstantin Bischoff, Munich - working as a parish leader 
Esther Göbel, Berlin and Greifswald - working in the project "Surf and soul" and as a church organizational consultant
Isabelle Molz, Freiburg - working as theologican in a deanery 
Susanne Schuhmacher-Godemann, Hofheim - working in social pastoral
Karoline Wilkens, Hamburg - working in the pastoral care in a psychiatric hospital