SEDOS organized a two-day Autumn Seminar at the UISG headquarters on Discovering Mission in the Lay-Context. The reason for this event lies in the fact that it is not always easy for religious missionary Congregations to cooperate in mission with lay missionaries.
Understanding that lay people in the Church can also have a real missionary vocation, or just like to support, in one way or another, the “regular” missionaries. We listened first to Idy Balberan who talked about her calling as a young Christian worker, and who ended up being the international treasurer of her organization.
The Church is seeing the rise of lay movements who in their own way are missionary. Maybe the future of the Mission is with the Laity. Pope Francis made an appeal to lay people to be more active in the Church: “The future of the Church … calls for a much more active engagement on the part of the laity.” (Philadelphia, September 2015) We therefore asked the lay celibate movement of the Society of Christian Doctrine, from Malta, to explain their experience in Mission a bit more. The General Secretary, Ruben Pace, was so kind as to introduce us to their world.
The director of the Lay-Center in Rome, Donna Orsuto, gave us a deeper insight into how the Church documents have always paid attention to the laity. She gave us many examples of great spiritual masters who nurtured their vocation, and talked about the best practices for the mutual sharing of spiritual gifts between religious Congrega-tions and the Laity.
After this introduction to the world of the laity and their participation in Mission, Fr. Lazar Stanislaus, SVD, brought us many valuable information on the way his Congregation is cooperating with the laity in and for Mission. His talk can be found on our website.
Besides these talks at the Seminar, we have selected an African example of the future of lay people, by Désiré Baire. And lastly, a Spanish article on the challenges of the laity in our time.
The SEDOS Annual General Assembly was well attended and gave a good overview of its many activities and its healthy financial situation. We have 84 members, with as new members this year: Salesians (SDB), Marist Fathers (SM), Congregation of Jesus, Mary, Joseph (CJMJ). We bid farewell to Sr. Veronica Openibo, SHCJ (President), Sr. Kathy Schmittgens, and Sr. Lissy Sebastian, RNDM; and welcomed Sr. Mary T. Barron, OLA (Vice-President) and Sr. Mary Sreeja Chittilappily, SND.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!