AMERICA/BRAZIL - The Catholic laity, protagonist of an "outgoing Church" at the service of the Kingdom

Thursday, 26 October 2017 local churches   laity   civil society  


Brasilia (Agenzia Fides) - "We know there is a great participation, activity and presence of lay people in the Church, but sometimes this is forgotten and little appreciated, so this is why we, as Episcopal Commission, want to have a period of one year dedicated to our laity", says His Exc Mgr. Severino Clasen, Bishop of Caçador and President of the Episcopal Commission for the Laity of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB).
In fact, from 26 November 2017, Solemnity of Christ the King, to 25 November 2018, the Church in Brazil will celebrate the “Year of the Laity”, according to information sent to Agenzia Fides by CNBB.
The cause for reflection is offered by the thirty years of the Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the vocation and mission of the laity, celebrated in Rome in 1987, and the 30 years of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic Exhortation of “Christifideles Laici” in 1988, as well as resuming and implementing the most recent documents of the Magisterium, especially of Pope Francis’, on the laity.
The theme chosen to promote this Year of the Laity is “Lay men and women, actors to the ‘Outgoing Church,’ for the service of the Kingdom,” and its motto is “Salt of Earth and Light of the World”.
The Bishops’ Special Commission for the Year of the Laity has organized the activities around four main points: events; communication, catechesis, and celebration; thematic seminars in the regional commissions; and publications.
"The whole work is done by lay people, thousands of people are engaged in the work of evangelization", commented the Archbishop of Londrina,
Mgr. Geremias Steinmetz, emphasizing the importance of considering the lay person as an ecclesial subject, who assumes his responsibilities, accompanied by Pastors.
In Northeastern region 5, corresponding to the state of Maranhão, the Archbishop of Sao Luis do Maranhão, Mgr. José Belisário da Silva, will focus this Year of the Laity on the theme of the missionary Church: "We will focus on the importance of the laity in the world, because wherever a lay person finds himself, he must bear witness to the values of the Gospel", he said. "In the history of the Church of Brazil, we cannot ignore the importance of the family and the laity, because without the family and without the laity the Church would have disappeared. For the passing on of faith we really have to take into account that the laity is very important", emphasized the Archbishop.
The initiatives for the Year of the Laity will be organized and promoted by the 18 ecclesiastical regions. Already in past days, from October 20 to 22, the ecclesial Assembly of Sul region 1, which includes the dioceses of the State of Sao Paulo, reflected on the theme of "Christian laity in the Church and society", focusing the attention on the formation of lay people.
In his speech, the Auxiliary Bishop of Sao Paulo, Mgr. José Roberto Palau, emphasized that it is necessary to have an educational project for lay people that takes into consideration the various stages and degrees of theological and pastoral knowledge, with a strong emphasis on the Church's Social Doctrine. Such an itinerary must form and enable the laity to proclaim the Kingdom. Lastly, a constant updating of the theology of incarnation and redemption in mission is needed: service to man, service to culture, service to politics, service to nature.
Brazil is the nation with the largest number of inhabitants in Latin America, 204,451,000 of whom 172,222,000 are Catholics. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 26/10/2017)