John Paul II Center - Milwaukee

Church Documents

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium - Second Vatican Council, 1964.
The constitution presents the role of the laity in a renewed understanding and vision of the Church (esp. 30-38).

Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity - Second Vatican Council, 1965.
The decree takes note of " the unmistakable work being done today by the Holy Spirit in making the laity ever more conscious of their own responsibility and encouraging them to serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances. . . . the Christian laity exercise their apostolate both in the Church and in the world, in both the spiritual and the temporal orders."

Christifideles Laici - Pope John Paul II - 1988.
Apostolic Exhortation following the 1987 Synod of Bishops on the Laity.
"The call of the Lord Jesus 'You go into my vineyard too' . . . is addressed to everyone: lay people are personally called by the Lord, from whom they receive a mission." John Paul addresses the dignity of the lay faithful, their participation in the communion of the Church, their coresponsibility for the Church's mission, the variety of lay vocations, and the formation of the laity.

The Lay Faithful in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1992.

Called and Gifted for the Third Millennium - National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1995.
Reflections of the U.S. Catholic Bishops on the 30th Anniversary of the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity and the 15th Anniversary of Called and Gifted.

Ecclesia in America - Pope John Paul II - 1999.
"The presence and mission of the Church in the world is realized in a special way in the variety of charisms and ministries which belong to the laity. Secularity is the true and distinctive mark of the lay person and of lay spirituality, which means that the laity strive to evangelize the various sectors of family, social, professional, cultural and political life. . . . There is a second area in which many lay faithful are called to work, and this can be called 'intra-ecclesial'. A good number of lay people in America legitimately aspire to contribute their talents and charisms 'to the building of the ecclesial community as delegates of the word, catechists, visitors to the sick and the imprisoned, group leaders, etc.' . . . There is a need to promote positive cooperation by properly trained lay men and women in different activities within the Church."

Everyday Christianity: To Hunger and Thirst for Justice - National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1999.
Pastoral Reflection on Lay Discipleship for Justice in a New Millennium.

Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry - United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005.
The US Bishops "offer this document as a pastoral and theological reflection on the reality of lay ecclesial ministry, as an affirmation of those who serve in this way, and as a synthesis of best thinking and practice." The document addresses: theological foundations, discernment and suitability for lay ecclesial ministry, formation of lay ecclesial ministers, authorization, and policies and practices in the ministerial workplace.


St. John Paul II Office for the New Evangelization

3501 South Lake Dr.
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912


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