Pope Underlines Importance of Lay Ecclesial Bodies

Stresses «Vital Link» Between Laity and Pastoral Ministry

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Pope Francis has underlined the importance of the laity, saying it is important that parishes and lay ecclesial bodies are not opposed to each other.

The Holy Father issued the message to the participants in the Congress, organised by the Vicariate of Rome, celebrated at the Pontifical Lateran University from 7 to 8 March on the theme: “The mission of Christian laypeople in the city”.

Francis emphasised in his letter various “essential aspects”. “The lay faithful, by virtue of their Baptism, are agents in the work of evangelisation and human promotion,» he said. «Incorporated in the Church, each member of the People of God is inseparably disciple and missionary. We must always depart from this common root of ours, as sons and daughters of the Mother Church”.

“As a result of this common belonging to the Church and participation in her mission”, he continued, “it is important that parishes and lay ecclesial bodies are not opposed to each other. The latter, with their variety and dynamic quality, are a resource for the Church, projecting into different environments and sectors of social life; but it is good for them to maintain a vital link to the organic pastoral ministry of the diocese and the parishes, so as not to construct a partial reading of the Gospel or to uproot themselves from the Mother Church”.

“I recommend that you make habitual use of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, a complete and valuable tool,» he concluded. «With the help of this ‘compass’, I encourage you to work for the social inclusion of the poor, always offering religious and spiritual attention to them as a priority.»

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