The Need: In keeping with Pope Francis’s emphasis on the role and importance of lay Catholics, we recognize the need for the People of God to claim their voices in shaping the Church. As Canon Law and Vatican Council II teach, Catholics have not only the right but also the duty to make our concerns known to our bishops for building up our Church. We are all called to be active, vocal members of Church – acting like St. Francis who was called by God “to rebuild my Church.” For laity to help rebuild the Church, we must first create venues in which our voices are heard.
The Vision: By creating safe, inclusive gatherings for Catholics to speak out about their concerns, we begin to activate lay people, pulling together and creating a groundswell calling for needed changes. This begins with you gathering together local Catholics, former Catholics, or those on the periphery of the Church to talk about their concerns and ideas.
- We offer a learning opportunity for your pastor, local clergy, and/or bishop to come and listen at these gatherings as people express their experiences and concerns.
- We envision bishops around the world (1) listening to these concerns, gathering the sense of the faithful, and (2) with enough voices speaking out and sufficient pressure from lay Catholics, then calling upon Pope Francis to bring about needed changes.
- Through this kind of groundswell, only then can we bring change and healing to our Church!
The Goal: As local gatherings occur around the world, we see several positive outcomes
- Activate lay Catholics toward building a groundswell calling for change
- Create an opportunity for lay Catholics to claim their voices and speak about their concerns and their lived experiences of faith
- Provide bishops a learning opportunity to listen carefully to these concerns
- Develop a process that can reveal a clearer Sense of the Faithful (Sensus Fidelium) which will be shared with the media, with the Vatican, and with Bishops, around the world