Date of Award

4-2018

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Theology

School or College

Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Brett Hoover, Ph.D.

Abstract

Even after the Vatican II has categorically revealed the role and the place of the laity in the Church, there is so much of resistance and cynicism prevailing among the clergy and the people in the Indian Church about this clarion call of the Council. Around 90% of Catholics keep themselves passive in their faith practice. As we delay the promotion of active and full use of the lay potential, the greater the chance and number of the lay faithful losing their faith. A strong feeling of insecurity in the clergy leads to distrust of lay talents and charisms and it also leads to blocking the gifts of the Lord and limiting the participatory Church in India. As a result, the ministry of the laity has become totally dependent on the clergy, which is totally against the vision of the communion ecclesiology of Vatican II. Therefore, the creation of awareness among the lay people on their singular role in carrying out the mission of the Church in our world is essential today. To achieve this goal, this pastoral synthesis project is prepared. In an effort to understand the context of the project, first, a case is described; second, basic background of Indian socio-religious-cultural background is elaborated; third, some of the most significant biblical and traditional theological resources and reflections on laity and ministry are discussed, especially exploring teachings of Vatican II and Pope Francis; and finally, in order to help alleviate the problem, a pastoral plan of “Integral Christian Growth Formation of Lay Leaders” is presented in detail. The members of Parish Pastoral Councils, leaders of Small Christian Communities, and Catechism teachers are considered as a focus group for this formation. Though the renewal of the laity in their identity and nature is illustrated in general, the tentative project plan, in particular, is presented for the Tamil Nadu region of India. On the whole, collaborative shared ministry of laity and clergy is proposed not as a concession by the clergy, but as a norm. Thus, through this project, some thousands of committed lay leaders will be identified, trained, empowered, commissioned and followed up, which will bring great revival in the life of the Church in Tamil Nadu, India.

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