Brazil: National Year of the Laity

Contact
information

Office/person in charge:
Episcopal Pastoral Commission for the Laity/CNBB and Special Commission for the Year of the Laity

Address:
Episcopal Pastoral Commission for the Laity/CNBB SE/Sul Quadra 801 Conjunto “B” BRASÍLIA – DF – CEP: _70.200-014

Email address:
leigoscnbb@gmail.com

Website/social media:

The Year of the Laity ran from the Solemnity of Christ the King in 2017 to the Solemnity of Christ the King in 2018. The central axis was the presence and action of lay Christians as “branches, salt, light and leaven” in the Church and society. The theme pertained to lay Christians as subjects in a Church going forth in the service of the Kingdom. The general objective is, “As Church, People of God – to celebrate the presence and organization of lay Christians in Brazil; deepen its identity, vocation, spirituality, mission and witness to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom in society.” The program carried out action in 2 main arenas: The Church and society. With respect the ecclesial arena, there was the formation of lay ministries of coordination and promotion of communities, pastoral programs and movements with meetings, courses, seminars and weeks of mission among others.

There was as well the strengthening and articulation of community networks along with the strengthening of regional and Diocesan councils of laity. With respect to the societal arena, there was the promotion of social participation to strengthen social control and participative management (councils relevant to the exercise of various rights, legislative monitoring groups, grassroots initiatives, audiences, referendums, among others). Mobilization of the Brazilian society also took place so as to perform a citizens audit of the public debt with schools of faith and politics, biblical circles regarding the public debt, The mission week of the Church going forth, regional symposiums and seminars regarding the respective worlds of work, politics, education, culture, care for our common home, and others. The materials included the dedicated folder, prayer, hymn, reflection upon the “Day of the Laity,” logo, banner with the Holy Family, biblical circles regarding the public debt, reflection regarding the mission week of the Church going forth, litany of lay blesseds and saints, litany of lay martyrs, and others.

What is it?

What is this initiative about?

The Year of the Laity ran from the Solemnity of Christ the King in 2017 to the Solemnity of Christ the King in 2018. The central axis was the presence and action of lay Christians as “branches, salt, light and leaven” in the Church and society. The theme pertained to lay Christians as subjects in a Church going forth in the service of the Kingdom. The general objective is, “As Church, People of God – to celebrate the presence and organization of lay Christians in Brazil; deepen its identity, vocation, spirituality, mission and witness to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom in society.” The program carried out action in 2 main arenas: The Church and society. With respect the ecclesial arena, there was the formation of lay ministries of coordination and promotion of communities, pastoral programs and movements with meetings, courses, seminars and weeks of mission among others.

How does it help?

In what way does this initiative enhance the formation of the laity?

The Year of the Laity saw broad discussion regarding the formation of the laity and gave impetus to the creation and implementation of formation programs in dioceses, schools of theology for the laity and schools of Faith and Politics.

The foundational text for the Year of the Laity (the aforementioned Volume 105) discussed aspects of lay formation and the need for a permanent, continuous and consistent process for the formation of a truly ecclesial people “that implies a continual maturing of conscience, liberty and the capacity to be disciples on mission in the world.” It reflected upon the fundamentals of formation (spiritual, intellectual and practical); principle elements of lay formation such as biblical, catechetical, liturgical, moral, spiritual, mystagogical, intercultural, integral, missionary, organizational, practical, and dialogue formation. The planning of diocesan formation projects was also considered.

The Year of the Laity saw the promulgation of schools of Faith and Politics, beginning with the Political Formation Course for Christians in the Dom Helder Câmara National Center of Faith and Politics. This promoted social reflection throughout the country in light of the Social Teaching of the Church and Gospel values, contributing to the formation of leaders in politics.

Why is it important?

Why is this initiative important for the training and advancement of the laity in your country?

The importance of the National Year for the Laity lies in the fact that it seeks to stimulate the presence and action of the Christian laity as “truly ecclesial subjects (Dap, n. 497a), as “salt, light and leaven” in the Church and society. This extends to all of the Church in Brazil at all levels: regional, diocesan, parish, communities, pastoral programs, movements, diverse lay expressions and organizations of communion of the people of God, ordained ministries, consecrated life. Another important aspect is that of dialogue with the different subjects in society, promoting a culture of encounter and care with respect to life and the common good, in the hope that another world is indeed possible.

How did it start

How was this initiative developed?

The preparatory process for the National Year of the Laity began in 2014 with the elaboration of a study text by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB). The study text, number 107 and entitled “Lay Christians in the Church and Society – Salt of the Earth and Light of the World” (Mt. 5, 13-14), explored the lay vocation, its identity, spirituality and mission. The text was approved as a document of the CNBB (Volume 105) in its 54th Assembly in 2016. One the commitments made in the document by the CNBB was to “realize the Year of the Laity, commemorating the 30 years of the Ordinary Synod on the Laity and the Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici of St. John Paul II on the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and world (1988).”

Some aspects of the development include:

-Promotion of events to mark the opening of the National Year of the Laity, such as thematic seminars in the regions of the CNBB, events in universities and public discussions and/or public audiences in city councils.

– Publication of reflections for celebrations, catechesis and communication.

– Calling for all the Church in Brazil to embrace the National Year of the Laity, be it at the regional, diocesan, parochial, community level, as well as in pastoral programs, movements, different expressions of the laity and organisms of communion of the people of God.

– Carrying out of activities that culminated in the realization of the 9th National Assembly of the Organizations of the People of God (Lay, Religious, Deacons, Presbyters, Bishops, Secular Institutes) at the closing of the year (Solemnity of Christ the King in 2018) and events celebrating the Laity throughout the country, principally in the Marian sanctuaries.

– Participation of ordained ministers, consecrated persons and the laity in the realization of the Year;

-Dialogue with the different agents in society, promoting a culture of encounter and of care for life and the common good, in the hope that another world is indeed possible, in collaboration with Episcopal Pastoral Commissions of the CNBB.

– The “Church Going Forth Week of Mission” in the areas of action of the Laity in the world: schools, hospitals, mediums of communication, companies, universities, etc.

– Realization of the First Continental Congress of the Laity in collaboration with CELAM, CNLB, CNBB.

– Spreading the scheduled activities for the Year of the Laity through the mediums of social communication.

Benefits

Does it benefit the laity on a national or local level?

It benefits the laity on both national and local levels:-
– By strengthening the identity, vocation, spirituality and mission of the laity;
– By strengthening the expression and organization of laity, as in National Council of the Laity of Brazil;
– By raising awareness of the laity as ecclesial subjects.

In many local churches, the National Council of Laity of Brazil moved to actualize the Year of the Laity and to awaken all to the vocation, identity, spirituality and mission proper to the laity, which is to exercise their mission in the Church and world. This vocation is to “seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God.” (LG 31)

In the Archdioceses, Dioceses and Prelatures:

  • 87% participated in the activities relevant to the opening and closing of the National Year of the Laity,
  • 74% used the aids of reflection,
  • 41% participated in the Church Going Forth Week of Mission,
  • 95% studied the foundational text,
  • 69% participated in thematic seminars,
  • 64% participated in the program of the “World Day of the Poor.”

Many other activities were carried out, such as:

  • Parish and Diocesan Assemblies dedicated to this theme;
  • Courses on Faith and Politics;
  • Involvement of Pastoral Programs and Diocesan Pastoral Movements;
  • Masses and reflections upon the Laity every fourth Sunday of each month of the year;
  • Interdioscesan encounters of Ecclesial Communities and Bible groups;
  • Leadership formation in schools;
  • Articles on the theme in newspapers, radio and Diocesan websites;
  • Discussion and celebration of theme in activities related to events such as Corpus Christi, feasts of Patron Saints and Marian Feasts;
  • Courses and meetings of clergy, as well with Diocesan Councils and those dedicated to Pastoral Care at the parish level;
  • Gatherings with professionals from diverse areas of work;
  • Seminars about the Fraternity Campaign, which involves all of civil society;
  • Formation for those ministries conferred to lay Christians;
  • Encounters for sharing lay charisms and a Theology Week for lay Christians;
  • Events raising awareness and celebrating the laity, workers, and care for our common home, such as “Water and Earth”;
  • Meetings with municipal counselors of public policy;
  • Diocesan Congresses with lay leaders.

In the particular Churches, the National Year of the Laity produced good fruits:

 

  • Greater awareness of “being a lay Christian” (identity and vocation);
  • The creation, promulgation and increased knowledge of the National

Council for the Laity;

  • Joy in being lay/missionary;
  • Creation of a school for faith and politics;
  • More conscious participation in Councils relevant to public policy;
  • Appreciation for the ministries conferred upon lay Christians;
  • Participation in Basic Ecclesial Communities;
  • Better participation of lay Christians at the diocesan level;
  • Awareness and “taking the initiative” of lay Christians;
  • Creation and strengthening of schools of theology for lay Christians;
  • Greater interplay between the various lay organizations;
  • Involvement in universities, businesses, social mediums of communication, schools, municipal bodies and prefectures;
  • Creation of pastoral initiatives in society;

The Year of the Laity positively affected ecclesial life at every level, but there still remain challenges, such as:

– the creation of formation programs with focus upon lay ministries;

– more placement of lay Christians in society;

– clericalism that still remains in the Church;

– the need to strengthen community networks;

– the continued creation of Lay councils at the Diocesan level and strengthening of those already existing.

 

Means and funding

Who funds the initiative? What is needed to launch this initiative?

Financial support for the National Year of the Laity came from particular churches and from organizations of the people of God, mainly the CNBB/CNLB. The program was one of evangelization and thus all gave in various ways, including financially.

The Special Commission for the Year of the Laity was created and its work was financed by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil.

Another source of funding came from publications of editions of the CNBB.

Learn more

Where can people learn more about this initiative?

People can learn about this initiative through particular Churches in Brazil, the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil through its Episcopal Pastoral Mission for the Laity and National Council of the Laity of Brazil.

Countries involved

Does this initiative exist in other countries?

How to start?

How can this initiative be implemented in other countries?

This is an initiative in Brazil that we share with the Universal Church in the hope that other countries would take it on as well. This initiative can be implemented through episcopal conferences and by other organizations of ecclesial communion in each country.


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National Year of the Laity - flyer
folder ano do laicato - vers+úo final 
National Year of the Laity - theme song
Hino Laicato 
National Year of the Laity - prayer
Ladainha dos Crist+úos Leigos Beatos e Santos Versao 19-09-2017 
National Year of the Laity - magazine
REVISTA ANO NACIONAL DO LAICATO CNLB