Friday, November 18, 2011

Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt: Pontifical Council for the Laity

Rome, Italy - There are roughly 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. Most of them are laypeople, meaning members of the Church, who are not ordained or part of a religious order. But what exactly is the role of a lay person when it comes to every day life?

Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt
Pontifical Council for the Laity
“Often times, we see parts of the world or of society where the Church doesn't have an official presence, or where its presence is weak. But, if a lay person is there, and if that person truly follows a Christian vocation, that presence comes alive. It becomes a testimony of Christ and of the New Evangelization.”

Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt works at the Vatican's Council for the Laity. The department has many roles, like creating a sense of purpose, identity and responsibility for laypeople. That includes making all Catholics like parents, professionals and politicians, take an active role when it comes to their faith.

Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt
Pontifical Council fort the Laity
“Priests, ministers and bishops aren't the only part of the Church. It's funny how sometimes we hear the baptized say 'Oh, the Church,' as if they, themselves, aren't part of it. I think things have gotten better, but we still have to work at making people understand that all of us make up the Church.”

From November 24th to the 26th, the Council will have its Plenary Assembly in Rome, to discuss how to move forward. One of the goals is to leave the technical work aside, so to speak, and focus on God and His message on a global scale.

Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt
Pontifical Council for Laity
“When we think about the New Evangelization, perhaps we shouldn't think too much in what to do. What projects to work on, or what techniques to build. I think the focus should be more on personal testimonies. People who are touched by faith and the mystery of Christ.”

Dozens of members are expected at the meeting, including the leaders of key lay movements like Kiko Arguello of the Neocatechumenal Way. Also, the president of Communion and Liberation, Julián Carrión and the president of the Focolare Movement, María Voce.

When it come to getting its message across, the Council's website is translated into four languages to keep laypeople up to date.

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