Year of the Laity
In view of giving visibility and voice to the laity in the Catholic Church, CCRI has declared today as the beginning of a worldwide celebration of the Year of the Laity. This will go from the Feast of Christ the King, November 26, 2017, to this same feast, November 25, 2018. During this year, we envision the People of God taking on a decisive and influential voice in the governance of their Church. This will never come by a decree of the hierarchy but only by the People assuming this responsibility. Once accustomed to this new role, it is our hope that lay people, by virtue of their baptism, will recognize their responsibility to heed the signs of the times and continue to lead the Church in the direction intended by Jesus Christ.
Inspired by the Brazilian Bishops Conference
We draw inspiration from the Brazilian Bishops who have called for the Year of the Laity in their country with this theme: “Christian Lay Men and Lay Women, Agents of the ‘Church Going Out to the Streets’ in Service of the Kingdom.” We support the importance of increasing awareness of the laity’s mission and encourage involvement of lay people to speak out against injustices in their society. But our objective includes an equally important dimension, namely, to change the injustices within the Church.
Pope Francis has repeatedly noted the ill effects of clericalism in “infantilizing” the laity. So, our support for a Year of the Laity is a risk taken in hopes that CCRI can contribute to empowering and energizing the laity as envisioned by Vatican II. In a letter to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who heads the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, we invited him to join with us in taking this concept worldwide. Significant change in the governance of the Church cannot happen by one group alone or one country alone. It can only occur when enough people from the grassroots around the world declare the time has come for the People of God to take responsibility for their Church and exercise their baptismal vocation as “Priest, Prophet and Leader (King).”
To provide a universal place in cyberspace for the people to come together to share plans, opinions, and convictions, CCRI would like to offer this website www.ThePeopleSpeakOut.org as a clearinghouse for ideas from the grassroots about the status of lay participation in decision making in the apostolate of the Gospel. Go there now to share your activities, leadership taken, and comments.
During this year, we are also giving support to Pope Francis amidst his facing accusations of heresy: www.WeSupportPopeFrancis.net. Please visit here and offer your support and comments.
What a lay-involved church might look like:
- the people initiating recommendations for the selection of bishops,
- the formation or continuance of small faith communities (SCCs, IECs, and CEBs),
- the people initiating and enhancing pastoral councils and/or diocesan councils.
As Pope Francis encouraged us, let’s “go bother our pastors,” and make our wants known and our voices heard!
People’s Synods occurring during this year
During this 2018 year, unlike any time before, a series of four lay-initiated gatherings are taking place. As part of our commitment, CCRI will offer promotion and support of these synods/forums with the hope that others will be inspired to call for something similar in their region of the world.
- Base Christian Communities in the Urban World, to be held in Londrina, Brazil in January (Latin American CEBs)
- A People’s Synod Inspired by the Spirit, to be held in a Dallas, Texas suburb, U.S.A. in October (ACC)
- Sacrament, Resistance, Sanctuary, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. in November (CTA)
- 2nd Forum of the People of God, to be held in Aparecida, Brazil in November (GCN)
To all Reform Organizations
We see our task is to gather together what’s happening globally with all the reform organizations and publicize your activities and projects. All that you are doing is intrinsically part of the Year of the Laity. As we hear from you about your various events, we will promote them throughout the world. We envision the Year of the Laity as just a beginning leading into a decade or more of the laity – of the People of God leading the way toward the future of the Church.
It is time for the People of God to take their rightful place in the Church – that of active leadership, involvement in the decision-making, and allowing the voice of the Spirit speaking through the people to be heard.
Grateful to all for your participation,