LAY APOSTOLATE COMMISSION – KABALE DIOCESE
Lay apostolate could be defined as a lay person getting actively and deliberately involved in activities/works that are geared towards the spread of the kingdom of God.
Where do the lay people practice their apostolate?
The church gives us the freedom to join any of the acceptable lay apostolate movements in Kabale Diocese if we are to practice our apostolate as the laity.
A list of them is on the Bishop’s letter dated on 24th Jan. 2013.
LIST OF LAY APOSTOLATE ASSOCIATIONS AND MOVEMENTS THAT ARE ALLOWED IN KABALE DIOCESE
1. Legion of Mary
2. Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
3. St Jude Thaddeus.
4. Eucharistic crusaders
5. Xaverian Movement
6. Holy Family (Eka Erikwera)
7. Praying for souls in purgatory
8. Catholic Women Apostolate
9. Pioneer Association (Total Abstinence from Alcohol ) (Yohana and Monica)
10. Catholic Students Association
11. Young Christian Students (YCS)
12. Uganda Martyrs Guild (Ekibiina ky’Abajurizi)
13. Holy Childhood
14. Kolping Society
15. Focolare Movement
16. Catholic Scouts
Movements that are BANNED (not allowed) in Kabale Diocese include;
1. The” Bakaiso” movement. Ref: Bishops letter dated October 14,2009
2. The Marian Workers. (Ref: The Uganda Episcopal Conference pastoral letter of June 2000)
DIRECTORS OF LAY APOSTOLATE COMMISSION SINCE 2000
1. Fr Balthazar Ndyomugabe
2. Fr David Byaruhanga (2009-2021)
3. Msgr. John Vianney Sunday (2021-2023)
4. Fr. Bruno Byomuhangi Sserunkuma (2023 to date)
ORGANISING SECRETARIES SINCE 2011
1. Mr Mwebesa Frank (2011-2021)
2. Mr Active Xavier (2022 to date).
DIOCESAN LAITY COUNCIL
According to the 3rd Kabale Diocesan Synod which sat from 18th-29th August 2014, the following resolutions were made in Chapter 1:
No.6 states that there should be a Diocesan Laity Council with the following composition:
a. Deanery council chairpersons (7)
b. Four (4) nominees of the Bishop
c. One Representative of association of the religious in Uganda (ARU)
d. Four youth representatives, one per District
e. Two political representatives
f. Four Women representatives, one woman per District
No. 7 states that the chairperson for the laity council should be elected by the same Laity council.
No. 8 states that there shall be an executive committee of laity council consisting of the following elected from council members:
a. The Chairperson
b. The Vice chairperson
c. The Security
d. The Vice secretary
e. The Treasurer
f. The Director of Lay Apostolate Commission(Ex-officio)
g. The Pastoral Coordinator(Ex-officio).
No. 9 states that the main duties recommended for the laity council are the following;
(a) To create, inspire, coordinate and demonstrate leadership and temporal affairs of the laity in the diocese.
(b) To discuss all matters related to the laity in social, economic, political and spiritual spheres in relation to the life of a catholic in the diocese.
(c) To be a link between the laity and the clergy for effective communication.
(d) To initiate programs that deepen spiritual, economic, political and social growth.
(e) To assist in mobilization of resources for diocesan programs.
(f) To provide advisory services where possible and applicable.
The Diocesan Laity Council and its executive are also reflected in ‘Kabale Diocese structures and Policies” chapter two, number 12, on 155 page 39
ACTIVITIES OF LAY APOSTOLATE COMMISSION IN KABALE DIOCESE
(a) The commission follows up the Christians who are doing apostolate among fellow Christians and non-Christians.
(b) It coordinates and follows up Lay Apostolate Movements and Associations in the Diocese and provides guidance where necessary.
(c) It attends meetings of Lay Apostolate Movements and Associations that do not have Diocesan Chaplains and Spiritual Directors.
(d) It attends national and regional lay apostolate meetings
(e) It visits Parishes and Deaneries every year to check on what is on the ground as regards Lay Apostolate. In such visits, we meet at Parish level in January to April.
(f) At Deanery level we meet the Deanery Lay Apostolate Committee which is composed of the Chairpersons of Lay Apostolate Committees of each Parish, the Women and Youth leaders of each Parish, plus the Head catechist, and the Dean. The Deanery meetings take place in October and November.
(g) It organizes Lay apostolate general meetings which are done in April and in October and it is in these meetings that 30% novena refunds are paid to Parishes that will have remitted their collections to the office.
(h) It organizes and funds laity council executive and laity council meetings .
(i) It organizes the Uganda Martyrs Novena from 25th May to 2nd June, and follows up the collection made in that Novena from which 30% is refunded to parishes to facilitate parish Lay Apostolate activities.
(j) It also ensures that the collections made on Uganda martyrs day is remitted to the Diocesan office from which 40% is paid to the national office as annual subscription
(k) Radio Maria Kabale talk shows.
(l) It maintains all the books of accounts and prepares accountabilities.
(m) It formulates work plans and budgets for every financial year.
Other activities can be found in the book: Kabale Diocesan Structures and Policies pages 40-41.
DISCOVER YOUR IDENTITY AS A LAY PERSON.
Position and status of the laity in the church
Ref: Uganda Episcopal conference manual 2017 on lay apostolate commission.
Where do lay people belong in the church of Christ?
1. The Church and her composition.
Church (Latin-ecclesia) i.e a call to come together” especially a religious assembly.
Therefore church refers to “God calling together his people from the ends of the earth by means of his word“
The word “church” is often used to mean the following;
i. Liturgical Assembly (1 Cor 11:18, 14:19, 28)
ii. Local community of believers(1 Cor 1:2, 16:1)
iii. Universal community of believers(1 Cor 15:9, Gal 1:13, Phil 3:6)
iv. Human body (1 Cor 6:19, 1 Cor 3:16)
v. A building where believers assemble for religious purposes
In the first three cases above, the church is understood to be a community.
This community consists of;
a. Clergy-abasiigwa (ordained ministers like Deacons, Priests and Bishops
b. Religious (men and women take Vows of chastity, poverty and obedience like brothers, sisters and some Priests)
c. The laity-from Greek word laos meaning “people.” These include all the faithful except those in holy orders and those who belong to a religious state approved by the church (Vatican II Council).
Laity can also be defined as all who through baptism are incorporated into Christ and the church and are called to evangelize the secular order and to share in the mission of the Christian people in the church and in the world.
2.The apostolate of the lay faithful.
Every person has a special vocation to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal (earthly) affairs and directing them to God’s will.
The lay person is therefore called to show Christ to others through faith, hope and charity expressed in their daily lives.
The lay person is to work for the sanctification of the world in Christ through the power of the Holy spirit.
The lay person is to illuminate and organize temporal affairs (family, work, leisure, politics, government, trade, science and technology etc) in away to glorify the creator and redeemer.
The Vatican II council fathers emphasized that “by its very nature the Christian vocation is also a vocation to the apostolate.
No part of the body is merely passive but each has a share in the functions as well as in the life of the body.
Therefore in the church there are no spectators. Every member of the church shares in the mission of the church according to his or her vocation and status.
3. Lay apostolate in the early church.
4. The duty to be involved in the apostolate of the laity is rooted in the great command to spread the kingdom of God (Mt 28:19-20, Lk 24:48, Mk 16:15-16). Two important verbs are used in these texts (preach and witness). In the New Testament, we find that some of the early witnesses never belonged to the priestly class. Eg Joseph was a carpenter Jesus himself sent the lay person who was delivered from demons home to witness God’s love there (Mk5:19). St Paul in his letters mentioned many lay persons who collaborated with him in his apostolate. They include Apollo, Aquilla, Priscila, etc (Acts 18:24, Phil 2:25,4:2-3, Rom 16:9, Phil 2:4)
Lay Apostolate Today
Eg The Uganda Martyrs of Uganda who witnessed Christ with courage were Lay people. All activities (economic, social, scientific, political, professional etc). We do in love and with humility to serve humanity are good examples of lay apostolate.
5. Baptism as the basis of lay apostolate.
Baptism forms the basis of lay apostolate. It is through baptism that a person is incorporated/received into the mystical body of Christ and is strengthened by the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of confirmation.
Baptism makes us Priests, Prophets and Kings in the kingdom of GOD where CHRIST IS THE KING because we are anointed with holy Chrism.
i. Priest because our prayers, good actions and sufferings if offered to God become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through our faith in Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)
ii. Prophetic role of the laity is majorly through their conduct in order to influence others to believe in the one who uses you that is Christ Jesus (1 Peter 2:12)
iii. Kings (rulers) in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. This is achieved because we become free from sin-(not slaves of sin) through Christ (Rom 6:12), Christ will reign over everything (1cor 15:25), Christ shall make believers kings (Mt 19:27).
6. The Spirituality (Driving Force) of Lay Apostolate
The foundation of lay apostolate ought to be love that flows from God. This love is poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
The Holy Spirit gives us two graces according to the catechism of the Catholic Church.
Sanctifying grace and Actual grace (Eneema eyeza and eneema ekoza).
These graces are meant to help us to do the will of God.
However it is very dangerous and risks your soul to actively participate in the service of God before you allow the Spirit of God to sanctify you through sacraments, personal devotion and prayer.
Many people today think that lay people who preach and perform miracles are holy but they forget that holiness starts from within the soul of a person. Actually many lay preachers today have lost holiness but they still go out for service. 1 John 4:4-6. Let’s strive to walk and work in spirit so that we may be able to bear good fruits. Galatians 5:16-26.Our service is worthless unless it is done in love and this love is poured in our hearts by the Spirit of God.
Therefore we should strive to be sanctified from within (sanctifying grace) and the actual grace to serve shall be automatically granted to us.