Ministry

The Co-responsibility of the Lay Faithful in the Church as Mission

Proclaiming and living the Gospel

Did you know you have a personal invitation from God: to love, to be loved and to live in solidarity? We respond to this invitation by proclaiming and living the Gospel message (evangelization). Christifideles Laici states that the purpose of “evangelization is formation of mature ecclesial communities” and to give “testimony towards the many who still do not believe and who no longer live the Faith received at baptism.” God’s gift of love is simple; our response is not!

Current societal trends threaten the Gospel message by dehumanizing our world through racism, poverty, elitism, unemployment, homelessness, egoism and corruption, to name a few. To counter this, we are called to integrate our Faith and secular life so Gospel values become part of every waking moment, thought and activity. Our active participation in sacraments, liturgy and parish life prepare us for this endeavor.

Christifideles Laici presents a path for proclaiming and living the Gospel. The first noted is professing the dignity of each person, all of whom have been created in the likeness and image of God. Dignity is based on equality and respect as “each discrimination constitutes an absolutely intolerable injustice.” Those recognized as the most apt to protect dignity and defend the right to life are “parents, teachers, health workers and the many who hold economic and political power.”

A second path calls for reciprocity. We cannot always give nor can we always receive; there has to be a balance of the two. We witness reciprocity in marriage and family life—“the family is the basic cell of society … the primary place of “humanization” for the person and society” and is imperative in providing proper growth for the benefit of all of society.

We are also called to the service of charity, best performed through the Works of Mercy. Charity, the highest gift for building the good of humanity, is often accomplished through volunteer work. Charity, always coupled with justice, is where basic standards of the common good originate so justice can be promoted. Justice’s goals—solidarity and peace for the common good—are achieved through education, intolerance of violence, ongoing dialogue and international and social order.

Because God intended a wholesome life for all, we cannot broach living the Gospel without including socioeconomic areas. These include employment, mutual respect in the workplace, entrepreneurship, systems of commerce/finance, technology exchange and employers/employees performing honest and professional work that reflect Christ’s redemptive work.


The final two areas addressed by the document are ecological awareness, i.e., the recognition that all living things are interdependent and the embrace of culture. Culture includes education, scientific and technological research, media, artistic creativity and the humanities. Culture provides Faith an important environment for evangelization.

Rose Robertson is a writer and certified spiritual director. She holds a master’s degree in pastoral ministry.
Published in the April issue of Catholic Life.

For the complete document, visit diolc.org/LayFaithful or Google search Christifideles Laici.

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