CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 April 2019

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Laity council marks 60 years

The Hong Kong Central Council of Catholic Laity marks its 60th anniversary this year. The council’s logo comprises three stylised letter Cs and an L to form a cross with a missing section on the right side. The empty section symbolises the many faithful, who fill up “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church” (Colossians 1:24).
 
Sixty years have passed and we need to continue to exhort one another to greater efforts in meeting the goal of completing that missing section by bringing others to Christ, in faith, hope and charity. 
 
It can be said that over the past six decades, the laity of Hong Kong have, bit by bit, been filling in this missing section. At the different levels of the diocese, in parishes and in small faith groups, the sort of active participation that is now evident would have been unimaginable in 1959 when the Central Council of Catholic Laity was founded. The participation and dedication of the laity has in no small measure contributed to the sooth operation of parishes today.
 
However, we still need a vision because that missing part is still there. There areas where the laity can contribute to the life of the Church. Take parish councils for example, although they have existed for a long time, many difficulties and challenges in the role they play, in what aspects of Church life they a should have a role and what the relationship between the councils, clergy and laity should be.
 
In terms of participating in Church matters, what should be remembered is the mission. Jesus Christ exhorted his disciples to go into the whole world to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. Nowadays, parishes attend to many matters. Can the fire to evangelise be sustained while handling mundane matters? This is a challenge.
 
The faithful should use their own uniqueness to serve the Church and to evangelise in the community and various groups. This not only stresses that the laity maximise their own abilities, but also that they respect each other. 
 
The theme of the Year of Youth this year is , Practice, Belief, Youth, which highlights listening, empowering, and accompanying. This speaks to how we should treat young people, but also highlights the proper attitude which we should have towards others. There should be no boundaries based on personalities. Everyone should listen to other voices and the faithful should their potential to evangelise in unity. This is indeed another challenge.
 
It is not easy for individuals to fully participate while respecting others. So we look to Christ’s suffering as an important foundation for the participation of the laity in the Church. 
 
Christ’s suffering comes from his own humility in choosing to walk with humankind. His commitment, his love unto death and then resurrection. 
 
Jesus Christ did not forsake us. Therefore, we, the Church should learn from his courage and humility, and also believe that each member of the Church has his or her own path to holiness.
 
We offer our best wishes on 60th anniversary of the Central Council of Catholic Laity. Let us remember that the missing parted is filled when we empty our hearts. SE