Lay movements discover commonality during Vatican congress

Members of Catholic lay movements and communities are discovering what they have in common at a congress in Rome sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

"We all want to grow. We want to make a difference. We want to witness," said Lorna Mueni Kilonzo, the international Marianist Lay Community's representative in Africa.

Catholic News Service reports that Kilonzo, who lives in Nairobi, Kenya, was one of about 300 participants representing some 100 lay movements and communities at a Congress which concluded last Friday.

Participants at the congress in Rocca di Papa, south of Rome, heard from founders and early members of the Focolare movement, the Sant'Egidio Community, Communion and Liberation, the Neocatechumenal Way, L'Arche and the Catholic charismatic renewal.

A high percentage of the participating communities are, like the Marianist Lay Community, groups affiliated with Catholic religious orders or, like Trinidad's Living Water Community, small groups that trace their roots to the Catholic charismatic renewal.

The theme of the congress was "The Beauty of Being a Christian and the Joy of Communicating This."

Outside the formal presentations, which focused on beauty as the expression of God's love and the experience of knowing Christ, congress members discussed their groups' process of maturity and learned about each other and ways they could cooperate to spread the Gospel.

Kilonzo said: "I am learning about how the gifts of the spirit are present in the movements. We all have different gifts, which we are using for the same goal.

"We are different, but one community is not better than another just because it is bigger," she said.

Patti Mansfield from New Orleans said there is a growing appreciation of the fact that lay movements "each have to be good stewards of the vineyard given to us."

The variety of movements and communities, she said, is a concrete expression of the diversity of spiritual gifts poured out on the universal church.

Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the council for the laity, told the congress that as the movements mature bishops and parish priests are recognising their value and counting on them more and more for assistance.

Catholic lay movements discover commonality during Vatican congress (Catholic News Service/Catholic Online 2/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Second World Conference of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities
Pontifical Council for the Laity

Pope says lay movements must accept authority (CathNews 1/6/06)
Laity Council hosting ecclesial movements meeting (CathNews 30/5/06)

John L. Allen: The congress for new movements (National Catholic Reporter 2/6/06)
New Ecclesial Entities United in Christ (Zenit 2/6/06)
Pope urges lay movements to bring Christ's saving light to all people (Catholic News Service 31/5/06)
Pope Exhorts New Church Entities to Obedience (Zenit 31/5/06)

5 Jun 2006