All Christ's faithful, whether clergy or laity, share one Baptism. The lay faithful, in particular, "ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being the Church" (CL 9). Their participation in the triple munera of Christ, as Priest, Prophet and King, calls them to participate in the diversity of vocation and charism in the Church. Communion provides the underlying unity among the different vocations, states of life, and ministries which exist within the Church. Everyone is called to grow in intimate union with Christ, in devotion to others, in charity and justice. The participation of the lay faithful is not univocal but rather differs according to each one's condition and function. The interrelationship of all the faithful within the Church and their common dignity, equality, and the participation in the mission manifest the fundamental unity constitutive of the one body of Christ.
Empowered Laity as a community of living witnesses to Christ.
Establishment of a Christ-centered community, based on love, justice, and equality through empowerment of its members.
"The vocation of the lay faithful to holiness implies that life according to the Spirit expresses in a particular way in their involvement in the temporal affairs and in their participation in earthly activities" (CL 17). All Christ's faithful are called to live out their baptismal promises, but the laity do this in their daily lives, be they mothers, doctors, accountants, or street sweepers. "The arena of their work is the vast and complex world of politics, economics, industry, education, media, science, technology, the arts and sports" (EA 45). They will continuously cultivate the feeling of the Diocese. They will be always ready on the invitation of their Bishop to make their own contribution to diocesan undertakings. "Their activity within Church communities is so necessary that without it the apostolate of the Pastors is generally unable to achieve its full effectiveness" (AA 10).
The situation today points to an ever-increasing urgency for an integrated formation of the lay faithful. Establishment of a Christ-centred community based on love, justice and equality through empowerment of its members is the need of the hour. There is the necessity for Catholics to lead profound Christian lives and to foster holiness of themselves and of the whole Church (CL 17). "The lay faithful ought to collaborate in every apostolic missionary undertaking sponsored by their own ecclesial family" (AA 19). The lay faithful should be made aware of and made to accept joyfully their vocation and mission which they have to live out in order that the Church remains true to her calling.
Commission Action Plan
The Diocesan Commission for laity should propose a broad plan for an on-going integrated human and Christian formation for the lay faithful as the top priority of our Diocese. Committed and capable laypersons who wish to serve the Church could be identified and sent for specialised courses on leadership and theological formation. Courses, seminars, and action-oriented programmes are to be organised at the parish, deanery and the diocesan level to train lay faithful to be agents of renewal in Church and society.
Faith formation and renewal retreats for the laity should be planned and implemented at the parish, deanery and diocesan level because what the Church needs today are apologists
and not apologisers, people who are defenders, not defensive of their faith. Every parish is to have 5% of the laity capable of organising a day's leadership programme in the Church and social levels.
Different talents and charisms of the lay faithful should be acknowledged and utilised in all areas of pastoral action in the parish, deanery and the Diocese. Lay ministries viz. for the sick, the aged, workers, the alcoholics and various professional groups should be encouraged and promoted.
The faithful, specially the youth and the women, should be encouraged to participate in the consultative and participatory structures at the parish, deanery and the diocesan level to foster a spirit of community, collaboration and cooperation.
Formation and training for the members of different consultative and participatory structures should be made mandatory. This training is to be undergone within a reasonable time frame with a definite syllabus on assuming the responsibility of being a member in these consultative bodies.
The Parish Pastoral Council members could be made responsible for the animation of Christian life in their respective wards. They should also see to the coordination of all the apostolates of parish associations.
The Diocese will have a centre where short training courses in leadership and community building are offered to the laity. Parish priests are to see that at least ten of their parishioners undergo such a training every year.
Lay resource persons are to be co-opted to form resource teams for various apostolates in recognition of their qualification, talents and charisms.
The Diocese has to build up an organisation of Catholic professionals like teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, writers, etc., which would provide a forum for striving towards excellence in their own fields and enable them to effectively handle their role in the society and in the Church.
The lay faithful are to be organized into a catholic association at the diocesan level which subsequently facilate their involvement in active political life.
The Photo Gallery of Commission's Activities
Sacred Heart Cathedral, Shimoga Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large1.jpg
Bishop's House, Diocese of Shimoga Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large2.jpg
Mahila Sangha, SMSSS, Shimoga Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large3.jpg
Our Lady of Health, Hariha - The Diocesan Shrine Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large4.jpg
St. Thomas Church, Davanagere Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large5.jpg
SMSSS, Shimoga Multipurpose Social Servie Society Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large6.jpg
Don Bosco Church, Chitradurga Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large7.jpg
St. Anthony's Church, Shanthinagar, Shimoga Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large8.jpg
World Famous Falls, Jog Falls, Shimoga District Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large9.jpg
Christ the King Church, Jog Falls Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large10.jpg
Declaration of Hariha Shrine as the Shrine of the Diocese Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large11.jpg
Faithful Praying at Harihar Shrine Image copyrights - Diocese of Shimogadbclc_gallery/large12.jpg