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ESSENTIAL

ROLE OF
THE
Church/LAITY
HISTORY OF THE
CHURCH- ROLE OF VATICAN II-
THE LAY PERSON Church has
called for the
BEEN SO renewal in the
DRAMATICALLY life and role of
EMPHASIZED AS IT the laity.
IS NOW.
• There is a notion that the
Faithful- there only real vocation in the
remains a Church is the ordained or
fundamental lack vowed priesthood and
of understanding religious.
of the lay vocation • Church- is the ordained
and its role in the office and only people in
Church’s mission. habits or collars are called
to SERVE.
Many think that the role of the laity
is to help out around the parish.

X not called to play an integral part


in the mission of the Church.
THE CHURCH
The Actual teaching of the TEACHES-
Church is that laypeople have a DIGNITY
distinct and very real role in the LAYPEOPLE
spreading of the Gospel, which ARE
the Church desperately needs ABSOLUTELY
them to carry out with the EQUAL TO
AUTHORITY, CREATIVITY, THOSE IN
AND POWER that the HOLY ORDAINED
SPIRIT HAS GIVEN THEM AND
Many lay Catholics would like to be more
involved….
Do not have
understanding of their
role in the Church.
Layperson as disciples…

1. the lay state is


a “vocation”
derived from our
Baptism.
2. The role of the
laity is essential in
accomplishing the
mission of the
Church.
3. How each of us
has been called by
God to our own
specific vocation
and mission.
4. Laypeople are
called to engage in
the affairs of the
world and direct
them according to
God’s will.
5. The unique
capability that lay
people have to bring
Christ’s divine
message of salvation
to every aspect of
life.
6. How to
discern
one’s
calling.
“ There is so much need today for mature
Christian personalities, conscious of their
baptismal identity, of their VOCATION and
MISSION in the CHURCH and in the WORLD.

-Pope John Paul II, May 30, 1998 ( Message for


the World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and
New Communities )
The Role of the Lay Faithful in
“LAIT the Church.
All the faithful except those in Holy
Y” Orders and those who belong to a
religious state approved by the Church.
That is, the faithful, who by Baptism are
incorporated into Christ and integrated
into the People of God, are made sharers
in their particular way in the priestly,
prophetic, and kingly office of Christ, and
have their own part to play in the mission
of the whole Christian people in the
Church and in the world.
laity are mistaken because
they are often defined by
WHAT WE ARE NOT.
* Misguided- negative
definition
They aren’t PRIEST.
They aren’t RELIGIOUS.

They assume that they don’t


have a vocation. THEY DON’T
HAVE A MISSION.
CHURCH defines laity by what
we are:

1.Sharers in Christ office of priest,


prophet, and king.
2.Holders of an important vocation.
3.Critical participants in fulfilling the
mission of the Church.
In short, THE LAY
VOCATION IS AN
OFFICE, NOT A
VACUUM.
* Because of this, it is a
huge mistake to consider
that only those called to
religious or clerical life
LAITY’S MISSION AND VOCATION IS
DERIVED FROM OUR BAPTISM.
CHURCH- Our Our place and
work in the body
vocation and mission of Christ is given
as laypeople derives to us directly, BY
THE HOLY
from our Baptism and SPIRIT, not
is strengthened INDIRECTLY
through the
through ORDAINED
Confirmation. OFFICE.
“ ( The laity ) are assigned to the apostolate by the Lord
Himself. They are consecrated for the royal priesthood
and the Holy people not only that they may offer spiritual
sacrifices in everything they do, but also that they may
witness to Christ throughout the world.”
Each of us has been called by God to our own
specific vocation and mission…

As laity, we are called to


share in the mission of
Christ’s Church by living in
the midst of the world and
addressing all its problems
and concerns with the divine
message of salvation.
Priest and laity work together to
form the Mystical Body of Christ…
Jesus says: “ Abide
COMMUNION WITH in me, and I in you.
THE CHURCH As the branch
cannot bear fruit by
*Members of God’s family itself, unless it
abides in the vine,
and his Church, WE ARE
neither can you,
NO LONGER ON OUR unless you abide in
OWN. me”
* Intimately and Mystically
united to the Lord. ( John 15:4 )
*Church- living and
functioning body… *gifts
* Laity- are the *talents
members bring *ministries
diverse + *responsibilities
complementary…
Living out our vocation….
• “ we can never remain in isolation
from the community…
• But must live in a continual interaction
with others, with a lively sense of
fellowship, rejoicing in an equal dignity
and common commitment to bring to
fruition the immense treasure that each
…not to
be
The bishops confused
and priests with the
have a very distinct
real, Although the and
extremely role of the laity importa
vital, and has EQUAL nt role of
God-given DIGNITY the
with the role of ordained
place in the
the ordained
Body of priesthoo
priesthood…
Christ….. d..
St. Paul tells us, Jesus’ “ gift were that some
should be apostles, some prophets, some
evangelists, some pastors and teachers.”
( Ephesians 4:11 )
These offices are given to the Church for a specific reason:
In the Church there is a diversity of
ministry but ONE of mission…
Differ…
Each in
Bishops and priests, members of the Mystical Body of its own
Christ, whose task is to TEACH, SANCTIFY, AND proper
GOVERN, precisely so that the vast majority of the way
Mystical Body of Christ, THAT IS THE LAITY can do the shares in
work of EVANGELIZING, SANCTIFYING, AND
RENEWING the rest of the world beyond the sanctuary…
the one
priestho
od of
Christ.
Unique role at the
PRIEST
ALTAR

LAYPEOLE Unique role in


the WORLD
AUTHORI
TY

REAL
COMPETE
NCE THE CHURCH URGES
US TO FEEL FREE TO
REAL GIFTS
THAT WE
START ANY TIME…
HAVE THE
DUTY TO
EXERCISE IN
THE WORLD -
MISSION
CATECHISM:

1. “Lay
Christians
need to “ Initiative of
permeate Lay Christians
This initiative
social, is necessary.” is a normal
political, and element of the
life of the
economic Church.
2. “ Lay For them the
Church is the
believers are animating “ not only
in the front principle of BELONGING
TO THE
line of the human society.
CHURCH, BUT
Church life.” OF BEING THE
CHURCH The
community of the
This duty is the
3. Lay more pressing
Christians when it is only
must bring through them Their activity in
ecclesial communities
Christ’s that men can is so necessary that,
for the most part,
message to the hear the Gospel THE APOSTOLATE

whole world. and know OF THE PASTORS


CANNOT BE
Christ. FULLY EFFECTIVE
WITHOUT IT.”
“ The ‘world’ thus becomes
the place and the means for
the lay faithful to fulfill their
Christians vocation.”
( John Paul II )
Disciples in the World…
“ I have
dealt
Our baptismal identity tells us who
with all
are we and equips us to do the work
that
we are called to do…
Jesus
Our baptismal identity as PRIEST,
began to
PROPHET, AND KING does not
do and
merely tell us WHO WE ARE, IT
teach”
ALSO POINTS US TOWARD AND
( Acts
EQUIPS US TO ACCOMPLISH
1:1 )
WHAT WE ARE TO DO..
It is Church is just a
human society of “
through the FOLLOWERS” “
RULES” AND
Body of “RITES” in order
Christ that to keep busy once
the Master was
Jesus does gone…
his work in
the world…
“my
church” or
“ my
followers
.” Jesus
completely
identifies with
But the reality is as SAUL of his Body
Tarsus discovered it to be. and it is
When he was persecuting the through
Church, The Risen Christ the Body
confronted him on the road to that Jesus

Damascus and asked him, “ does his


work in
Saul! Saul! Why do you
the
persecute me? ( Acts 9:4 ) world…
… And that work is done, not merely by
priests, bishops, and popes, but most
especially, by LAITY, who make up
roughly 98% of the Body of Christ…
Discernment
Fulfill
one’s Discernment is the
mission single greatest
as a discipline or skill
laypers
on
necessary
Is the faith
to believe
that he
That is, we must “read the
really is
signs of the times” in order CALLING
to pay attention to what US.
the HOLY SPIRIT is
NO
calling us to do.
DOUBT…
We have only to educate
ourselves on where to look
for those SIGNS

In Christifideles Laici, Pope John


Paul II tells us where to look:
A receptive listening to the Word
of God and the Church, fervent
and constant prayer, recourse to a
wise and loving spiritual guide,
and a faithful discernment of the
gifts and talents given but God, as Christifideles
well as the diverse social and laici, 28
historic situations in which one
lives. ( Christifideles laici, 28 )
Guideline for Discerning Our Calling

1. Listen to the The Pope reminds us that the first thing


necessary to discerning our particular calling in
Word of God and life is “ a receptive listening to the WORD of
the Church. GOD and the Church.

The same Lord who calls us personally to


our particular work in life calls the Church
he created and sustains.
This requires, above all, both
humility and courageous wisdom,
since some people are all too ready
to assume that “ God spoke to me ” Christ
even when their “ revelations “ desires us to
contradict the Church’s teaching, exercise our
while other people are all too ready gifts.
to assume that any initiative on
their part is “ UPPITY “ and
overbold.
FORMATION
Ongoing
formatio
n is
Our mission is not merely difficult for us to
essential
accomplish: it is impossible ___________ on
for our own.
every
baptized Only God can do these things, therefore
Catholic God will have to do them.
.
Therefore we must know our faith so that
we can have recourse to all the gifts God
intends to give us to make it possible for us
to accomplish our mission.
The Church insists
that proper
The Church uses formation in the
exactly the same faith is the “ right
language to describe and duty of all “
the formation of NOT MERELY A
laity as it does to PRIVILEGE OF
THE FEW.
describe the
formation of clergy.
Not only do priests or religious have
that right and duty…
We need to make sure that the
parish to which we belong
becomes a house of lay
We laypeople also formation…
must do all that
we can to educate FORMATION = empowers
discernment and discernment is
ourselves critical if we are to know what our
gifts and calling are as
LAYPEOPLE.
The person principally responsible for our
formation is NOT the POPE, or our BISHOP,
or our PRIEST… We have
primary
IT IS responsibil
ity for
YOU knowing
AND and living
ME Learn the catechism
our faith.

Study Scripture
Remain close to the sacramen
To be sure, others play a We must take the initiative as
LAYPEOPLE and see to it that our
part in this process and we education is actively pursued and
faithful to the actual TEACHING OF
cannot, and must not, THE CHURCH.

approach or
FAITH AS LONE
RANGER CHRISTIANS. MAGISTERIAL
TEACHING
Participating in the life of the
Church
To fulfill our
individual
Each of us must “ always mission, we
be fully aware of being a “ can
participate in
member “ of the Church
the life of the
yet entrusted with a Church
unique task which cannot INDIVIDUA
be done by another and LLY AND in
which is to be fulfilled for GROUPS.
the good of all.
Individual Participation
All of us
are called It can
This form
to Called reach as
Friends of
individua to many
Family participati
lly spread Coworkers places as
on “can
participat the Neighbors there are
contribute
e in the daily
work of
Gospel and even
greatly to
lives of
( Both strangers a more
the individua
word we meet in extensive
Church l
our daily spreading
by living and lives members
of the
a truly deed ) of the lay
Group forms of Participation

Church’s history,
there have Since VATICAN II, there
always been has been a new vitality in
various groups of the development of
lay faithful active various lay associations,
in the life and groups, communities, and
movements in the church
mission of the
Church
The desire
of the laity
These lay movements “ have for a
arisen to meet the specific needs of greater
the laity- the need for a deeper commitmen
spirituality….and the need of the t to the
discipleship
laity to give greater evidence of of Jesus, in
their own desire for evangelizing the world
the word- the world of economics, and in the
the world of politics, the world of Church
universities, the world of unions
Involvement in these
“ The most significant positive
groups can promote a development since the Second
closer unity of our day- Vatican Council has been the
to-day life with our faith, flourishing of lay movements
as well as numerous within the Church.”
opportunities for
fellowship, ongoing faith - Cardinal James Francis Stafford,
enrichment, and specific
President of the Pontifical Council
apostolic works.
for the laity.
August 8, 2003

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