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Lay Vocation and Mission: Rerum Novarum to Evangelii Gaudium & Blessed Alberione

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Shown during the 2014 gathering of Pauline sisters this PowerPoint presents some of the Church documents that influenced Blessed James Alberione in his founding of the lay Association of Pauline Cooperators. It also shows the history of the development of the lay vocation & mission in the Catholic Church and the renewed ecclesiology of Vatican II and post-Vatican II studies.

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Lay Vocation and Mission: Rerum Novarum to Evangelii Gaudium & Blessed Alberione

  1. 1. Lay Vocation & Mission The Second Vatican Council represented a rediscovery of two foundational interrelated truths: the universal call to holiness and the universal call to evangelization.
  2. 2. Blessed James Alberione The Daughters of St. Paul in the various countries must have Cooperators; much patience and prayer is needed. There are 23,000 parishes in Italy, and therefore these centers must number 23,000—at least one per parish, and the large parishes should have two. So what must be done? We must pray for the grace to accomplish this. To the Daughters of St. Paul, 1929-1933.
  3. 3. Foundations To share our mission with the laity is not only a heritage that Blessed Alberione left the Pauline Family: it is part of a long journey that the Church has lived throughout her history.
  4. 4. Foundations
  5. 5. Rerum novarum (1891) …inspired Alberione to open his foundations to the laity in a unique way within the Pauline Family. It remains an essential document that began a Spirit initiated chain-reactionSpirit initiated chain-reaction renewing the Church’s self-awareness as communion.
  6. 6. Foundations “That new apostles would restore true meaning to law, school, literature, the press, public morality; that the Church would have a new missionary impulse… that society would absorb the great teachings of Leo XIII’s encyclicals, especially those dealing with social questions and the liberty of the Church.” Abundantes Divitiae Gratiae Suae,17-19.
  7. 7. Foundations In 1915 Alberione stated his concern: “They know the usefulness of a communion, of a holy rosary campaign, of the construction of a sanctuary, but they do not know the encyclicals: Rerum novarum, Graves de communion, Il fermo proposito.”
  8. 8. Foundations » Pius X adopts Catholic Action in Il fermo proposito (1901). » Alberione includes a chapter for “cooperators of Catholic Action” in Notes in Pastoral Theology (1912). » Alberione founds “Co-workers for the Good Press.” (1917). » Pius XI defines Catholic Action in Non abbiamo bisogno (1931). » New development: the autonomous activity of the laity in society may bring a Christian influence.
  9. 9. Foundations “The Pious Society of St. Paul is composed of two branches: one masculine and one feminine, both having a common life and the vows; and a third branch made up of Cooperators of the good press.” Transmitted to the Holy See in 1921 by Bishop Re (Alba) from a report by Alberione
  10. 10. Mater et magister John XIII’s Mater et magister (1961) invited the laity to utilize the methodology “observe, judge, and act” of Catholic Action to take up the challenge of social reform.
  11. 11. Foundations Prophetically (1954) Alberione asked consecrated Paulines to include the laity in their projects, assist them in organization, share their joys and sufferings, and continue a formation with the Cooperator magazine.
  12. 12. In 1960 Alberione wrote: They will be in harmony with the Pauline apostolic life by their prayers, offerings, and works carried out in the Pauline spirit.
  13. 13. Foundations Mater et magistra also moved Catholic spirituality toward a more immanent spirituality of engagement…breaking down the wall between everyday life and the spiritual life, which Guadium et spes will call “among the more serious errors of our age” (GS 43).
  14. 14. Foundations With Vatican II came a renewed emphasis on baptism. The council affirmed that all people are called to holiness and that each member of the Church has the vocation to evangelize.
  15. 15. Lumen Gentium …changed the Church’s vision from a society of faithful Christians to a people of God. “Through their baptism and confirmation all are commissioned to the apostolate by the Lord Himself” (33).
  16. 16. Vatican II The renewed ecclesiology of Vatican II was the result of decades of grappling with the emerging theology of the laity.
  17. 17. Vatican II “Lay people, too, sharing in the priestly, prophetical and kingly office of Christ, play their part in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world.” Decree on Apostolate of the Laity, #2
  18. 18. Gaudium et spes The council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church, (1965) invited the laity to participate actively in the entire life of the church not only to animate the world with the spirit of Christianity but also as witnesses to Christ in all circumstances and at the very heart of the human community.
  19. 19. On Evangelization The task of evangelization is the duty of every believer, and it is proper to the laity and not just for the ordained. In fact ‘the Church exists in order to evangelize.’ On Evangelization, 1975, 14.
  20. 20. Lay mission & vocation “The commitment of the laity to the work of evangelization is changing ecclesial life.”  John Paul II in Redemptoris missio, 1979, on the ecclesiology of communion promoted by Vatican II.
  21. 21. Lay mission and vocation In this vision of Church- communion each of the members lives in relation with the others, without losing their uniqueness which enriches the whole. Christefidelis Laici, 1988, 55
  22. 22. The laity should be conscious of their own standing in the Church: not as mere recipients of doctrine and the grace of the sacraments, but as active and responsible agents of the Church’s mission to evangelize and sanctify the world. ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II TO THE BISHOPS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ON THEIR "AD LIMINA" VISIT 1993
  23. 23. Communion Consecrated persons are asked to be true experts of communion and to practice the spirituality of communion as witnesses and architects of the ‘plan for unity.’ Vita consecrata, 1996
  24. 24. Communion “The fundamental objective of the formation of the lay faithful is an ever- clearer discovery of ones vocation and the ever-greater willingness to live it so as to fulfill one’s mission.” Christifideles laici,1988
  25. 25. Communion “We will need to seek different ways of organizing our communitarian-apostolic life. We must do this in an intelligent way and according to the new communication. If we enter into communion with the laity, new paths for evangelization will open before us.” Sr. Joana Puntel, Interchapter, 1998
  26. 26. Communion “Share the riches of your charisms with all those involved in the one mission of the Church which is to build up the Kingdom.” Benedict XVI, 2001
  27. 27. various perspectives… “If there were no vocation problem, it would not be necessary to promote the laity in the charism and mission “proper” to the religious.” “It is sufficient that superiors establish someone as a companion of the lay groups while the religious communities continue their own life on the margin of these relationships.” “It is the Holy Spirit who proposes this profound change in ecclesial relationships. It is a call directed to the religious to situate themselves in the Church in a different way, so as to enter into a more authentic communion.”
  28. 28. Journey from separation to communion 1st Laity are looked upon as the receivers of the mission of religious, not as companions in mission; they receive spiritual help, but from on high. 2nd Religious discover the laity as collaborators in the mission. Thus, they feel called to share their experience of life, to be experts of communion, or guides in spirituality. 3rd “We are with you in the same mission and together we witness the Christian faith in society.” We have a “shared mission,” and “live the charism with the laity.”
  29. 29. Journey from separation to communion The laity:  First feel themselves to be collaborators of the religious.  Then participants in the mission of the religious.  Finally, they feel the mission as their own and speak of “our” mission.
  30. 30. Journey from separation to communion “This requires a change of mentality for the laity, shifting from considering themselves collaborators to recognizing themselves as co-responsible for the being and action of the Church, favoring the consolidation of a mature and committed laity.” Pope Benedict XVI
  31. 31. Living the Pauline charism Baptized into communion with God in Christ through the Spirit we form a communion of believers sent in mission.
  32. 32. Pope Francis, 2013 “It would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelization to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients.” St. Paul with co-workers Aquila and Prisilla.
  33. 33. This is the Church’s symphony, the rich variety of gifts and charism freely given by the Holy Spirit as he wills, all working together in harmony (Eph. 4:11). “What does it take God to stir up Cooperators for the Pauline Family? With one Fiat God created the heavens. UCBS, 1924

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