Catholic laity needs to be motivated to take their rightful place in the mission of the Church. Many articles in the Catholic press appear reminding us that one of the negative aspects of our Church culture is the powerful place of clergy in administration which makes it difficult for laity to find the will and desire to participate in roles of leadership.
In this recent issue of the Catholic Times, a committee whose work is to help the elderly in the church has a lay leader, and been working in the Seoul Diocese for the last ten years, responsible for the pastoral work among the elderly. The journalist who wrote the article mentions how necessary it is for qualified lay persons to get involved in all the different areas of church life.
14 members and a priest helper are on the committee responsible for the study and working among the elderly. The committee head has the qualifications for the work being a college professor, in the public welfare department at a university. Laity needs to find their place in the works of the church.
Society is aging, and the church members are aging quicker. The article mentions two issues that need to be addressed. One is to have words necessary to speak to the elderly about their situation of age, weakness and approaching death, that makes sense to those with a religious understanding of life. This requires them to go to the tradition and teaching documents of the Church.
Secondly, to make the pastoral workers understand the problems of aging and
how to deal with the aging. We are still at the beginning and need to find ways to mobilize those working in parishes to become interested in the problem.
The church has not come to terms yet with aging of members and lack of new births. Within ten years, we will experience negative effects of this change in society, and we need to start preparing, says the committee head.
A person with varied accomplishments, a factotum, is no longer admired as in the past. Our society demands we work together to achieve our goals and find those with specialties we need. We no longer live in a lone ranger type society; this also goes for the pastoral work and mission of the Church.