The Brazilian bishops have announced a celebration of the Year of the Laity beginning on the feast of Christ the King, Nov. 26, 2017 and ending on the same feast in November, 2018. Its purpose is to increase awareness of the laity's mission and encourage involvement of lay people in the church and in society. The theme chosen for this Year of the Laity is “Christian Lay Men and Lay Women, Agents of the ‘Church Going Out to the Streets’ in Service of the Kingdom”. The bishops hope to encourage the presence and the action of Christians, 'true ecclesial agents, as ‘salt, light and leavening’ in the Church and in Society.
Call To Action has learned about this initiative of the Brazilian church through our partnership with Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI). CCRI brings together progressive Catholics from all over the world to participate in a global movement that works for change in the structures and governance of the Catholic Church. CCRI is in dialogue with progressive Catholics in Latin America who are part of the Base Christian Community movement. These Catholics are supporting the Brazilian church’s Year of the Laity and they are organizing a major meeting of representatives of the base communities in the Brazilian city of Londrina in January, 2018.
CCRI has written a letter to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who heads the newly established Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. This letter is calling for the Vatican to encourage bishops world-wide to join the Brazilian bishops in celebrating a Year of the Laity in their own dioceses as well. Call To Action members are encouraged to read the letter and add their names to this petition. This letter can be found here.
Call To Action and CCRI believe that a celebration of the Year of the Laity by the universal church is an opportunity for lay people around the world to become aware of their role in the church and to become conscious of their right to be consulted by the bishops in matter of governance of the church. In the most recent newsletter of CCRI, you can read about four synodal gatherings called by lay people during this upcoming Year of the Laity, including CTA’s 2018 national conference.