Newark synod synthesis highlights “priesthood of the laity”

In its diocesan synthesis for the Synod on Synodality in 2023, the US Archdiocese of Newark has called for “significant formation” on the “priesthood of the laity” and in “lay leadership.”

The recommendations include:

Provide significant formation regarding “the priesthood of the laity” and how each person is called to be a disciple of Christ through baptism for members of the laity and Church leaders.

The report noted that “many parishioners are more focused on their local concerns rather than on global issues.”

“Pastors, parish staff members, and school and campus leaders can facilitate “lifelong learning” by gathering groups to read, study and reflect on the many resources available to know more about the faith and contemporary issues the Church is speaking of,” the synthesis continued.

Small Christian Communities

Giving examples, the synthesis noted that “parishioners can be invited to come together for Small Christian Communities, Bible study, books, journal studies, etc., on parish or deanery levels.”

It concluded that there was a need to “help parishioners who are unsure how to reach out to the margins: the poor, former Catholics, unchurched, younger generations, and others.e

Training

“Training is needed in ways to gently reach out to others and invite them into the life of Christ,” the synthesis added, calling for “lay leadership training in parish leadership, ministries and groups, social justice and outreach.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin CSsR welcomed the report, saying:

The synod consultation process provided the Archdiocese with a new opportunity, not only for the prayer, dialogue and discernment called for by Pope Francis, but also a way to think concretely about how to address issues on the local level. A goal for the synod listening sessions was to reach as many people as possible throughout the Archdiocese. As the Archdiocesan planning team began to organize the diocesan consultations, they provided information sessions so that everyone could learn about the Synod and ways they could participate. It was hoped that parish pastoral councils, with some additional training, could facilitate the listening sessions in their respective parishes. This was very effective in gaining participation from a significant number of people. In places that did not have functioning pastoral councils, other leaders were called upon to facilitate the listening sessions.

SOURCE

Diocesan Synthesis Synod on Synodality (Archdiocese of Newark)

Video: Yves Congar’s Theology of the Laity

French theologian, Fr Eric Mahieu, was our guest for the June ACI webinar focusing on the theology of the great French Dominican priest, Yves Congar, a major 20th century theologian and a key actor at the Second Vatican Council.

Watch the video now.

Yves Congar

Born in Sedan, France, in 1904, French Dominican Yves Congar was a leading 20th century theologian, who exercised a major influence on the Second Vatican Council.

A strong advocate of ecumenism, he also played a significant role in the development of a theology of the laity. His work “Lay People in the Church,” first published in French in 1953, was one of the first major theological treatises on the role of the laity.

From his days as a young priest stationed at the Dominican convent, Le Saulchoir, then located in Belgium, he led retreats for the young leaders of the emerging Young Christian Workers movement. Subsequently, he worked closely with the French Workers Catholic Action movement.

Later he would describe the YCW as “a prophetic initiative from the periphery” consecrated by a pope, Pius XI, “equally moved by a prophetic spirit.” The outcome was “a magnificent creation, an opening full of developmental promise: a prophetic work born of a twin prophetic movement linking the periphery and the centre,” Congar wrote.

In 1965, he encouraged Cardijn, who had recently been made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI, to make the most of his role as a Council Father at the Fourth Session of Vatican II, assisting Cardijn with the drafting of his speeches.

During the Council, he kept a day by day journal, recording the events, conversations and discussions in which he was involved. This was published after his death in 2000 under the title “Mon journal du Concile” and in English in 2012 as “My Journal of the Council.”

Recognising his lifetime of theological achievement, Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 1994, just months before his death at the age of 91 in 1995.

Speaker

Fr Eric Mahieu

Eric Mahieu is a priest of the Diocese of Lille in France, who has taught theology at the Catholic Institute of Paris for 15 years. A renowned scholar of Congar’s work, he edited Congar’s Vatican II notes for publication.

Currently, he is a university chaplain as well as parish priest at Our Lady of the Pentecost in Lille.

READ MORE

Yves Congar (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council (ATF Press)

Pope Francis: New roles for lay people

After nearly nine years of preparation, Pope Francis has promulgated the Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate Evangelium,” reforming the Roman Curia and its structures.

Fundamental among the general principles in the new Constitution is the provision that anyone – including lay people – can be appointed to roles of government in the Roman Curia by virtue of the vicarious power of the Successor of Peter.

The preamble to the Constitution explains this in the following terms:

“Every Christian, by virtue of Baptism, is a missionary disciple to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus. One cannot fail to take this into account in the updating of the Curia, whose reform, therefore, must provide for the involvement of laymen and women, even in roles of government and responsibility.”

Noting that the “pope, bishops and other ordained ministers are not the only evangelisers in the Church,” the Constitution goes on to explain that the role of lay people in governance was “essential” because of their familiarity with family life and “social reality.”

Consequently, “any member of the faithful can head a dicastery (Curia department) or organism” if the pope decides they are qualified and appoints them, it provides.

READ MORE

Pope Francis promulgates Apostolic Constitution on Roman Curia ‘Praedicate Evangelium’ (Vatican News)

Pope rules baptised lay Catholics, including women, can lead Vatican departments (Reuters)

PHOTO

Pope Francis visits Palo Cathedral in one of his sorties in Leyte Province Saturday, January 17, 2015. / Malacañang Photo Bureau/ Picryl