SACBC Laity Council: Geuinely co-responsible for the Church

Address by Mr Malatsi Leonard Kope
Chairperson of the Laity Council
at the launching of the SACBC Laity Council
24 January 2017

Today the Church in our region is celebrating a historic moment which should be embraced by all as the mission of the Church is brought more and more closer to all of us.

Looking back in the history of the Church pre Vatican II Council, it has been largely on the role of the clergy.

After the conclusion of the council we saw more awareness and the importance of the Laity in the life of the Church being given more attention. The Church called for the renewal in the life and the role of the church with regard to the laity.

Despite this call there remains a fundamental lack of understanding of the lay faithful and its role in the Church's mission.

To many of us - lay faithful - there is a notion that the only real vocation in the church is in the ordained or vowed priesthood and religious. We still believe the church is the ordained office the priests and religious as being the only who are called to serve. The actual teaching of the church is that lay people have a distinct and very real role in the spreading of the Gospel, which the Church desperately needs them to carry out with authority, creativity and power that the Holy Spirit has given to them in Baptism.

Today as we mark this historic moment in our region through the launching of the Laity Council, we would like to sincerely thank our Bishops for bringing awareness and encouraging the lay people to play a distinct role in the life of the church, under the Department for Formation, Life and Apostolate of the Laity

Through the continued formation and more involvement of the laity in the mother Church, the world will be brought closer to encountering Christ.

Let us all jointly work together with our religious, clergy and the entire magisterium of our church to:
  • accomplish the mission of the church
  • accept the call of God to our own specific vocation and mission
  • encourage sodality members to live their devotion as a way of making Christ known to the world.
  • engage in the affairs of the world and direct them according to God's will
  • acknowledge that our families are very important as it should be the first contact with God, first church. Let's encourage good family life amongst ourselves with proper marriages- blessed in church by our Catholic clergy and promote family and marriage life.
  • participate and engage more meaningfully in all the commissions of the Bishop's Conference, Metropolitans, Dioceses and Parishes.
  • bring Christ's divine message of salvation to every aspect of lives and discern God's calling
  • use our God given talents to enrich the life of the church in our different vocations through permeating social, political and economic realities we are faced with today.
As the Catholic lay faithful let's help our priests and religious to save the world by encouraging our teenagers (Youth) to go to school and study hard, attend catholic schools and be formed through Catholic education to be good professionals who will in turn Christianize the secular culture for the benefit of humanity. Our youth is our future and thus the future of the church, let's hold them very dear and guide them to responsible adult life.

Pope Benedict in his message to the International Forum of Catholic Action, August 10, 2012 : Said 
"lay women and men should not be regarded as collaborators of the clergy, but, rather as people who are genuinely co-responsible for the Church".
This is a powerful and empowering call to all of us and we can all benefit greatly from it. This deserve close study and development to bring the role of the laity in the church to light.

Malatsi Leonard Kope
Chairperson Laity Council

Click HERE to download the Laity Council's Constitution


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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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