Faith Connections Theology on Tap January 14 - Laity in the Changing Church

Laity in a changing Church

Chaplain Francesca Scorsone gave a delightfully refreshing presentation on the changing Laity in a changing Church at the first Theology on Tap meeting of the New Year on January 14. With humour and a light air, Chaplain Scorsone talked about the changing role of the lay person in the Catholic Church and the emerging lay leadership of the Church.

“The roles [of priest and layperson] are becoming more collaborative,” said Scorsone. “Now people look at the laity as a vocation, as a career.”

Scorsone found a career as a layperson in the Catholic Church after a turn as a movie and television actor. As Chaplain at All Saints Secondary School and with a Masters of Arts in Theology, Scorsone counsels young people about faith and engages in dialogue about faith and Catholicism at school and social events, “it’s all part of the role of a pastoral leader in the community, being that person that someone would talk with about faith.”

In telling stories, at times funny and serious, Scorsone showed that her role as a layperson is not just nine to five. She is asked questions about faith and converses about Catholicism, faith and God at all times and in all circumstances, “I’m a Catholic in my life, in the way I vote. I’m not just Catholic for one hour on Sunday.” Scorsone encouraged the audience of 35 young people at the Duke of York Pub to think about what it means to be a layperson and have a leadership role in the Church.

“We [the Church] are one body with many parts and today we are charged with finding out what all those parts mean,” said Scorsone. She described the four types of laypersons in the Church: lay associations such as the Catholic Women’s League or the Knights of Columbus; Catholic workers in communities such as Madonna House and other contemplative orders; the Parish ministries of Lectors, Eucharistic ministers and others; and theologians and academics.

Working together, Scorsone said the Church leadership and the lay leadership can bring about change in the world in fulfilling their collective mission. “The Church and the laity have the same mission – to bring faith to the world,” Scorsone said. “If we are support by our Church as lay leaders then we can be effective in our salvific mission to bring Christ to the world.”

At the end of the talk, each of us was challenged to live a Catholic life every day, to be a lay leader in our communities. As Scorsone said, “the Church is changing because the laity is changing,” and she encouraged us, as like-minded young people already engaged in interaction and faith discussion, to be part of the ongoing reformation of the Church.

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