CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 July 2017

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Laity are at the heart of spreading God’s word

BEIJING (SE): Prompted by an observation from Father John Baptist Zhang at a gathering of the Union of Major Superiors of Religious Women’s Institutes in mainland China held in Beijing from June 21 to 25, the 51 superiors, representing 19 congregations, together with 17 priests and some 20 members of the laity agreed that the time is ripe for a greater missionary mobilisation with a much heavier involvement of lay people.
 
In a keynote talk, Father Zhang, from Faith Press in Hebei, explained how his office collects statistics each year on baptisms around China.
 
He commented that even though the figure of 30 to 50 thousand sounds good, among a population of 1.3 billion, surely it is too few.
 
Fides reported that the gathering took up his challenge, doing an analysis of the problems, difficulties and obstacles that people meet when challenged to accept the faith.
 
The role of the parishes and catechesis, as well as basic ecclesial community groups was discussed.
 
At the end of the day, there was general agreement that the sisters have a natural gift for bringing Christ’s love to the people, but what needs to be particularly highlighted today is the vital role that lay people must play in spreading the faith in the contemporary world.
 
Sister Nan Yinghui, from the Congregation of the Presentation of Our Lady of Shanghai, reflected, “I am aware of the missionary urgency.”
 
However, Sister Nan went on to say that the sisters in Shanxi and Inner Mongolia have added another priority.
 
“We must always improve ourselves as religious in the knowledge and deepening of faith towards the laity. Today’s laity is extraordinary, both at a theoretical and practical level of evangelisation,” she stressed.
 
The two words gratitude and mobilisation were the major items in the take home package that the delegates to the gathering received—an immense gratitude to the Lord for all that has been achieved up until now and the ability to mobilise with a fresh enthusiasm.

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