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1. Virginia Saldanha (India/Right) on Need of Dialogue between Asian Bishops and Laity for Renewing Asian Churches including FABC.
2. Martha Heizer (Austria/Middle) on The Urgent Agendas of "International Movement of We Are Church" for Church Reform as of Today.
3. Kochurani Abraham (India/Left) on "Bold for Change" in Addressing Misogyny and Patriarchal Culture in Asia.
Asian Theology Forum
31 July 2017
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.
To all supporting the Renewal of our Church:
Please consider signing our open letter to Cardinal Kevin Farrell as head of the Dicastery on the Laity Family and Life. As you will see, the letter is an invitation to this office to join the People of God in carrying forward to the rest of the Church globally a "Year of the Laity" already being undertaken by the bishops of Brazil this coming year from the feast of Christ the King 2017 to this feast in 2018.
We sent this letter to the Cardinal on July 12 and received this prompt response:
I am Fr. Giovanni Buontempo, Responsible for Lay Movements and New Communities within the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. I am writing this e-mail on behalf of our Prefect, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, in reply of your e-mail of July 12th, 2017.
Thank you for sending us the letter with the request of a "Year of the Laity" for the universal Church. We had already received this request directly from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Brazil, several months ago, and I can assure that Cardinal Farrell considered seriously this proposal and took it to his heart. The whole matter is being evaluated by the Holy See.
Be assured of our prayer for all your activities.
As a follow-up to the two Synods on the Family that have already taken place, we are standing with other Church community-based leaders in supporting four synodal gatherings called by the People all in 2018:
We will keep you apprised of these conferences as they unfold. One of the many outcomes of our calling for a Year of the Laity is to have the People of God from around the world actively supporting Pope Francis's vision for a decentralized Church that addresses the needs of the local dioceses and is universally more welcoming and less judgmental. But for the renewal of the Church to actually come from the People, the People must become more active in Church governance. The Church structures and practices of governance must come to embrace regional diversity and recognize that this is not in conflict with the unity of the Church. A Year of the Laity can teach the whole Church to respect the beauty of different cultures guided by the same Spirit.
In addition to signing this letter, you may also want to promote this with your local media, post it on your websites, and personally contact your pastor or bishop. Let's see what kind of global support we can garner when the People declare November 2017 to November 2018 to be the Year of the Laity throughout the world.
Once established, the next steps during this year would be to encourage the People in local dioceses to begin taking key initiatives based on what is appropriate to their region of the world. This might include such issues as: