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Apostolate of the Laity Vatican II Document on the Vocation & Role of the Laity in the Church.

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Presentation on theme: "Apostolate of the Laity Vatican II Document on the Vocation & Role of the Laity in the Church."— Presentation transcript:

1 Apostolate of the Laity Vatican II Document on the Vocation & Role of the Laity in the Church

2 Apostolate of the Laity Apostolate refers to the duties or mission of an apostle, or a group of people that exist for spreading of religious doctrine; Lay Apostolate : The lay apostolate is made up from laypeople and consecrated religious who exercise a ministry in cooperation with the Catholic Church. The mission of the lay Christian faithful to both "lead non- believers to the faith and to instruct, strengthen, and encourage the faithful to a more fervent life

3 Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam Actuositatem Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity is the first document solely focused on the nature & role of laity in the Church from an Ecumenical Council To be Christian is to be “called” & “sent” Body of Christ made up of baptized & exists unity & solidarity of purpose to proclaim the Gospel Vocation of Laity can be seen in 3 areas Evangelization & Sanctification of World Endeavor to use Gospel to improve temporal (secular) world Charitable works & Social Actions Laity are called to be the “leaven” in society & world Unity of mission yet diversity of ministry

4 Apostolate of the Laity The Apostolate of the Laity Impact of Church on peoples view of modern world – social, cultural, political, economical Apostolate of Laity – “participate” in world; reason behind why John XXIII called the Council – Church to be light to nations World to reflect valves of Kingdom of God – “thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” Vocation of Laity is to inscribe values of Gospel in the world Vocation of ordained is to lead & form laity in the values of the Gospel

5 Apostolate of the Laity What is the apostolate of the laity? Basic Principles: Christ is way of Salvation; purpose of Church as light in world is to order secular world to God’s Law i.e. justice Foundation of laity’s vocation based on baptism & confirmation – universal sacraments Each is called by God due to baptism – vocation Each has gifts from the Spirit – Confirmation No dual identity in laity – world & Church not separated Using faith as guide in living our lives through an integration of faith & action

6 Apostolate of the Laity Sacraments of baptism & confirmation are the “signs” of the apostolate – to have received these sacraments is to be commission by God to go out & proclaim the Gospel Assigned apostolate/vocation is given to person by God – person called by God to a particular vocation or task Soul of apostolate is charity, nourished by Eucharist, Scripture & Sacraments Recognition of prime role of Holy Spirit – faith, hope & charity poured out upon faithful Holy Spirit sanctifies laity through hierarchy & Sacraments Holy Spirit gives each gifts or chrisms for exercise of apostolate or vocation for good of Christ & Church in a specific way

7 Apostolate of the Laity Fruitfulness of Apostolate of the Laity Fruitfulness of apostolate of the laity depends on living union with Christ “He who dwells in Christ produces much fruit” John 15:5, symbol of the vine & branches Laity achieve this through participation in liturgy & prayer Laity rooted in Christ – not to separate union with Christ from everyday lives; there is union between spiritual & temporal life Faith guides action; faith should not be foreign to temporal matters

8 Apostolate of the Laity Fruitfulness of Apostolate of the Laity Lay Spirituality – found in day to day living – focused on particular circumstance of person at a particular point in their life – work, age, health, personal, social, economic Lay spirituality different from ordained/religious spiritual, both call person to same encounter of the Living God Lay spirituality is not a “second class” spirituality Mary is universal model for the laity; she is a lay person! Relevance & importance of retreats, prayer groups, individual prayer & Scripture Sacraments of Church especially Eucharist & Confession

9 Apostolate of the Laity Objectives of the Lay Apostolate Evangelization & Sanctification mistakenly understood to be carried out by ordained All called to evangelization & sanctification by virtue of baptism & Confirmation Yet, very witness to Christ & carrying out of good works is effective “Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp stand, where it gives light to all in the house” Matthew 5:15 Apostolate looks for occasion to announce Christ; vocation of laity to be active & proclaim by word & deed Examples can be the defense & explanation of Christ, faith, Church or the correct, just application to things & issues of our time

10 Apostolate of the Laity Objectives of the Lay Apostolate Apostolate or vocation of laity is to instill valve & renewal of temporal order through guided distinctive by the Gospel Christian social action preeminent, bringing Gospel into society through justice, social aid, charity to poor, sick & imprisoned. Demands of justice are to be satisfied & meet, and are NOT an act of charity e.g. Civil Rights Movement Lay apostolate or vocation are called not just to respond to effects of evil, but to root out causes as well. Unique to Catholic Faith – Catholic Social Teaching

11 Apostolate of the Laity Vocation of Laity Found in Church & World Laity active in Church today – family, parish, diocese, national & international Vast potential & possibilities open to laity Baptism gives laity both the right & duty to build up the Kingdom of God for all Apostolate or vocation of laity should not be reduced or confined to Church, actually primary apostolate of laity is go into the world & renew it; light to the world Vocation of Laity is not either/or but both One mission – various ministries on various levels & can be on individual or group endeavors

12 Apostolate of the Laity – Present Day Catholic & Christian: Laity at the Heart of the Church Holy Spirit calling to new sense of responsibility & potential to live & spread Gospel of Jesus Second Vatican Council defined laity unique participation in threefold ministry of Jesus as priest, prophet & king Deep communion & unity of laity based on communion & unity of Trinity Unity marked by mutual trust, cooperation, respect & love Experience of communion overshadows all distinctions of office & function; division secondary to purpose Division often threaten to split Church; share in Christ & mission leads us to reconciliation, understanding Lay people extension of Christ’s presence in the world; & living life according to the Spirit & bringing Christ into everything they do

13 Apostolate of the Laity – Present Day Catholic & Christian: Laity at the Heart of the Church Laity share in Christ’s priesthood by offering themselves & their daily activity as living & spiritual sacrifice Laity are prophets as they announce the Gospel of Jesus to others by word & deed; the challenge to evangelize Laity participate in the kingship of Christ be extending Christ’s Kingdom into the world they live in; this occurs when laity order the world & its affairs according to God’s standards & valves. Important Elements to Help Laity Do This: 1. Remain close to Christ & Gospel 2. Discover & live meaning of communion – one mission, many talents 3. Rights of lay associations to form & necessary criteria to discern authenticity e.g. Can.215 Christ's faithful may freely establish and direct associations which serve charitable or pious purposes or which foster the Christian vocation in the world, and they may hold meetings to pursue these purposes by common effort 4. Education & Proper Awareness of Church Teaching & Guidelines

14 Apostolate of the Laity – Present Day Why Catholics Find It So Hard to Evangelize? Evangelism not part of Catholic culture Framework behind Evangelization: God loves us everyone unconditionally As Christians, we believe that only in Christ can a person know & experience the FULL redeeming love of God Only when Christians experience God in their lives, can they go & share the power of God’s love to others Death comes to all, but Christ conquered death & those who participate in the life of Christ by words & actions assured eternal happiness Central belief of Christian Faith – “Christ rose from the dead” – source & foundation why Christians are people of hope regardless of circumstances & what makes Christian faith different from other faiths Hope & Love compel Christian to act, yet some who attempt offer distorted “evangelization” by various personal agendas; others think merely “action” is enough; others believe “moral teaching” sufficient

15 Apostolate of the Laity – Present Day Why Catholics Find It So Hard to Evangelize? Evangelism not part of Catholic culture Present Dangers : Relativism & Fundamentalism Sole focus on “morality” – similar to “Pelagian Heresy” that moral will is capable of choosing good or evil without grace (God) Excessive anxiety getting teaching right & wrong; important but little relevance if not centered upon Person of Christ Emergence of moralism as motive for action Fundamentalism – fastest growing Christian movement in world today; offer “certainty” and “activity” in preaching of the Gospel All Christian Church’s not the same – different beliefs & understanding of faith & doctrine; often with own narrated story of what Catholics believe e.g. an evangelical telling a Catholic what a Catholic believes about saints! Lack of laity’s knowledge of faith can make laity vulnerable & open to being mislead!

16 Apostolate of the Laity Laity Before & After Vatican II Laity before the Council seen as “auxiliary” to hierarchy Work of laity under hierarchy No recognition give to laity in regard to their baptism & confirmation After Council, recognition of apostolate of laity as essential character of Church Apostolate of laity not “conferred” by hierarchy but laity called & sent by Christ, through the sacraments of baptism & confirmation Call to laity to connect & integrate “faith & action” in their apostolate Participation of laity in various fields & ministries result of development of understanding of laity in Vatican II

17 Apostolate of the Laity Apostolate of Laity – Summary Apostolate of Laity in Church spoken as “vocation” Laity are called by Christ by virtue of their baptism, and are called to be sent through their confirmation Recognition that Church cannot be without lay apostolate by virtue of person’s baptism; baptism gives person right & responsibility to proclaim the Gospel Vocation of Laity moves people to deeper & deeper service to Christ & Church; the desire to serve God & others Holy Spirit moves laity to desire deeper knowledge to understand & be of better service to Christ & Church


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