Dear Friends in Christ,
The Second Vatican Council rediscovered the role of the laity in pastoral work, as it considers that the mission of the church was not only given to pastors, “they also know that they were not ordained by Christ to take upon themselves alone the entire salvific mission of the Church toward the world. On the contrary they understand that it is their noble duty to shepherd the faithful and to recognize their miniseries and charisms, so that all according to their proper roles may cooperate in this common undertaking with one mind.” (Lumen Gentium 30).
The term laity is here understood by the Council to mean all the faithful, men and women, except those in holy orders and those in the state of religious life specially approved by the Church. These faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ (LG. 31), that is to say that the function of the laity gains importance following the ministry of Jesus Christ. And for the church, they are the instruments of sanctification in the world; with their testimony, they make present the evangelical message, and Christ himself.
The Council recognizes the richness of the wide range of people within the Church, where we are all the same but with different functions that help bring about the coming of the Kingdom (Galatians 3:28). In this task each member makes a contribution, whether or not consecrated, yet each person is called to work on equality and community.
Following this commitment, the laity has the mission to contribute to the growth of the church, especially where it is unable to make its presence. “The laity are gathered together in the People of God and make up the Body of Christ under one head. Whoever they are they are called upon, as living members, to expend all their energy for the growth of the Church and its continuous sanctification, since this very energy is a gift of the Creator and a blessing of the Redeemer” (LG. 33). Furthermore, the document also identifies that the laity can be called to a closer collaboration with the members of the hierarchy; who can also offer them duties with a spiritual goal in mind. The spirit continues to revitalize the testimony of Christ in the world through the laity; with their testimony of life, in fulfillment with their pastoral gift, consecrating the world to God.
The laity has been constituted by Christ himself, witnesses of the salvation that God has carried out and continues to do so in the world. To those of you, who are part of the laity, you give testimony of the reality of a new heaven, from here. That is to say that with your attitude of life, you become great evangelists who attract new sheep to the kingdom of God.
We have recently celebrated our Fifth Annual Pastoral Assembly. In that assembly we have highlighted the importance of encouraging the mission of our parish; as well as being aware of the signs of these times and be able to respond to the changes and challenges in a positive way. Let us continue to pray to God for the gift of wisdom, so that together we can continue to encourage the life of this parish.
P. Héctor Návalo, cmf