Lay empowerment urged through involvement in social, spiritual initiatives

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MANILA, June 30, 2013—A Catholic priest and a lay community on Saturday urged the faithful to strengthen their involvement in various lay and church initiatives to heed the call of the church for renewed evangelization.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP-NASSA), said that lay initiatives done in the name of social and spiritual causes effectively help in promoting ways that contribute to the goodwill of the majority.

“It is important that the laity contribute in the mission of the church. Church initiatives must not be confined on priests and nuns alone. The laity must have an active hand in organizing avenues that contribute to the attainment of the church’s mission in spreading the good news,” he said in the vernacular.

Mary Grace Candol, National Representative of Community Sant’Egidio, said that lay empowerment is an effective means to promote church advocacies because of its independence from external influences, making it a stronger force that could harness a greater impact to the community.

“Lay organizations are very helpful in promoting peace…We have all the capacity to advocate and disseminate information without barriers,” she said.

“If you are part of a non-governmental or lay organization, mas malakas yung move because most of you are volunteers who are doing things for a cause and not for any personal benefit that you can reap in the future,” she added.

Youth as important players 

Gariguez said that young individuals play an important role in continuing the church’s mission as the present-generation of church leaders need individuals who will follow their footsteps to continue the mission they have started.

“We have to further empower the youth to participate in church initiatives. Our generation is getting older and we need ‘second-liners’ who will succeed us in the future,” he said.

“For those working in the church, we have to intensify youth involvement to increase their awareness on the current issues faced by the country. This will enable them to greatly contribute in nation-building efforts pushed by Christian values,” he added.

Recognizing the youth as individuals who would continue present-day advocacies, Candol said that it is best to urge participation from the youth so they will have a better understanding of the current issues faced by the country.

“The best thing we could do is to make them participate so they may understand what is going on. We have to educate and make them understand so once we leave them, they would still be able to continue the legacy started by earlier generations,” she said.

She called on people to participate and cooperate in lay initiatives to bridge out gaps that emanate between differing individuals, noting that diversity is best when mixed with unity.

“We ask everyone, most especially the young ones, to participate and cooperate. There are certain aspects that might get out-of-hand at times, but if there is cooperation, unity, solidarity, and friendship, everything will go well,” Candol said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)

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