A recent seminar took place in Rome addressing the relationship between Laity and Mission. The initiative was born in response to the growing concern of missionary animation in Christian communities and the positive integration of lay people in missionary cooperation among Churches. This issue is the subject of frequent debates seeking answers to this enriching ecclesial phenomenon. It is, of course, totally in line with the vision of Vatican II which has yet to take root in the universal Church. Every baptised person is a missionary! We don’t have to leave our own land and go overseas to be a missionary. Wherever we are, we are missionary – we are called to proclaim Christ.
The presence of all the baptized in the missionary activity of the Church is increasingly important, regardless of the social, ecclesial or cultural context in which it is promoted.
In the last few decades, God is generating lay vocations for the mission, sent by local Churches and welcomed by other local Churches in their missionary commitment. The Society of African Missions has several groups of lay people involved in various missionary activities, from the Benin Republic, from France, Poland and the Netherlands; from the USA…
The Irish lay group, Friends of Africa, send members on mission in Zambia and Tanzania, linked to the Society. Some go for short periods while a small number have gone for 1 to 2 years. And even though their work might be seen in a human development / education context their motivation comes from seeing themselves [rightly] as missionaries. It is a beautiful reality, a new Pentecost!