One of the great changes that took place in the Catholic Church after Vatican II was the participation of the laity in parish life.
"You not only help the priest do his work, but you have a great responsibility to profess our faith. I appreciate your calling and commitment," the archbishop said.
Included for the first time this year was a presentation in Spanish by Feliciano Tapia, coordinator of the School of Ministry in the Diocese of Fresno and who for the past 18 years has trained of lay ecclesial ministers in dioceses in California and the Midwest.
"We must revisit and revitalize the spirit of Vatican II in this Year of Faith," said Tapia. "Pope John Paul II wrote that the future of the Church is in the hands of lay people and therefore it is important to train, enable us, to talk to leaders of other communities, to learn from them and also share our experiences with others," he added, referring to the document Ecclesia in America.
According to Tapia, the last 50 years has been a rediscovery of the responsibility of the laity. "This is a great gift given to us that we must take with responsibility and with joy," he said.
Tapia also spoke of the challenges facing the Church, such as the shortage of vocations to the priesthood. The great vocation of the laity can help fill that void.
This annual meeting of the lay ecclesiastical ministers is very important for parish leaders such as Karen Flores of Queen of All Saints Parish in Concord, who said the conference motivated her to involve others. "That's our job, to bring the good news to others, especially in this year Pope Benedict XVI asked us to promote our faith."
Patricia Salas, catechist at St. Peter Martyr Parish in Pittsburg for the last six years, believes the training of lay ministers is essential so they can do more for the Church.
"For me it is very important as adults to educate children in the faith to help form a better society, in which we respect the values ??and principles of Christian life," she said. "That's our responsibility to God," she added.
Maria Leticia Flores, a reader and catechist at St. Peter Martyr, added that the family is central to the teaching of the faith. "As parents, we are teachers and if we do not give that education to our children, who will do it?" she asked. "Our service is called to the family first and then to the community."
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