13th Plenary Assembly of the CCBI
Held at Calcutta from 10 to 13 January 2001
Laity in a Participatory Church
- By virtue of baptism and confirmation, all Christians are called to holiness of life, constant conversion, and an ever-deepening union with Christ which should lead them to participate in the life and mission of the Church. The challenges of being Church in the present circumstances of passivity, lack of faith formation, lack of commitment, family pressures, poverty, unemployment, casteism, gender discrimination, corruption, communalism, fundamentalism… make it all the more urgent to promote the responsible participation of every Christian.
- There is an urgent need to recognize and promote lay services flowering into lay ministries which build up the Church and society. Examples of such services/ministries: to the sick, aged, youth, family, women; the ministry of the Word, catechesis, reconciliation; the promotion of justice and health, community animation, inter-religious dialogue, inculturation etc. The necessary formation programmes, installation procedures and guidelines need to be worked out by each diocese according to its unique circumstances.
- As the Small Christian Communities (SCCs) ensure a participatory, active, vibrant and evangelizing Church, they should become a pastoral priority for the entire Church of India, as mentioned time and again, especially by the recent National Assembly of Yesu Krist Jayanti – 2000 at Bangalore. While recognising the important place that ecclesial movements and associations have in the Church, these are called to a fuller understanding of their collaborative role in relation to SCCs.
- Various participatory structures like Finance Committees and Pastoral Councils need to be introduced where they are missing and strengthened where they exist. These structures should ensure co-responsibility, team-work, regular planning and evaluation.
- In the Indian multicultural, multireligious context, SCCs, while preserving their ecclesial identity, should network with all people to promote and nurture small human/neighbourhood communities that usher in a society based on love, justice, peace and harmony.
- In order to achieve the above goals, all Church leaders – bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful – are called to be effective animators, in the spirit of Jesus Christ who came to serve, not to be served.
It is to the above, with God’s help, that we pledge ourselves.