By Fr. Steve Kanonik, Pastor
In 1988, then Pope John Paul II published a post-synodal exhortation entitled: Christifideles Laici. It had the sub-title: On The Vocation And The Mission Of The Lay Faithful In The Church And In The World. Many saw this document as unconditional for the vision of The New Evangelization which was to become a major effort of Pope John Paul II’s Papacy.
In this document the Pope encouraged all lay members of the Church to recognize their special dignity and their absolute importance in the mission Christ has entrusted to us all. Some theologians point out that it is not the bishops, priests, and deacons who lead and accomplish this mission, but all the lay faithful who are the essential component of building
the Kingdom of God.
The document is broken down into the following sections:
1. CHAPTER I
I AM THE VINE AND YOU ARE THE BRANCHES: The Dignity of the Lay Faithful in the Church as Mystery
2. CHAPTER II
ALL BRANCHES OF A SINGLE VINE: The Participation of the Lay Faithful in the Life of Church as Communion
3. CHAPTER III
I HAVE APPOINTED YOU TO GO FORTH AND BEAR FRUIT: The Co-responsibility of the Lay Faithful in the Church as Mission
4. CHAPTER IV
LABOURERS IN THE LORD’S VINEYARD: Good Stewards of God’s Varied Grace
5. CHAPTER V
THAT YOU BEAR MUCH FRUIT: The Formation of the Lay Faithful in the Lay State
I would like to reflect on this document a little more over the next few weeks. But today I wanted to point out that the Archdiocese of Chicago developed an award that is given each year for one lay member of each parish in the Archdiocese who lives a life focused on building up the Kingdom and serving people in the world who are in need. It is very difficult to choose only one person each year to receive this award and we spend a long time in discussion. This year our award winner was Kathleen Minneci.
Those who know her have seen her strong, behind the scenes, approach to guiding ministry to those in need, especially the home bound and the poor. And she is involved in a number of ministries. She is truly a sign of God’s love to many people.
SOME OF OUR PAST AWARD WINNERS ARE:
2018: Kathleen Minneci
2017: Regina Mulhern
2016: Alan Schoen
2015: Mary Ann Katner
2014: Bob and Jeanette Heiner