South Korean Conference Focuses on Lay Identity

Participants to Reflect on Religious Liberty

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SEOUL, South Korea, AUG. 26, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Next week in Seoul, the Pontifical Council for the Laity is sponsoring a conference on the identity and mission of the laity.

The six-day congress begins Tuesday and will have as its theme: "Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia Today."

The objective of this academic event is to reinforce the ties of the local Church with the Holy See. 

The Pontifical Council for the Laity explained in a communiqué that Asia was chosen to host the event as "a sign of missionary concern toward people of a continent rich in traditions, cultures and age-old religions, which appears in the third millennium as a protagonist in new worldwide scenarios."

The congress is being organized in collaboration with the Commission for the Laity of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea and the National Council of the Laity in that country.

Delegations from some 20 member or associate countries of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences will also participate. 

There will be 35 other delegations from associations, ecclesial movements and new communities that carry out their pastoral work in Asia.

Vocation

The conference will open with two lectures on the present situation: "2,000 Years of the Mission of the Church in Asia: Currents of Evangelization, Holiness and Martyrdom" and "Jesus Christ, a Gift for Asia: Exigencies, Tasks and Challenges of Evangelization Today."

On the first day, members of the local Church in their various countries will present the pastoral situation and initiatives undertaken.

The second day will open with a report on "The Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in Light of the Postsynodal Apostolic Exhortation 'Christifideles Laici.'" A debate will follow on the theme of "Christian Formation and the Missionary Commitment of the Laity in Asia."

Other topics to be touched upon include: the Christian initiation and formation of the laity, participation of the laity in the life of the parish and small communities, and the testimony of the laity in different areas of society (work, education, media and politics). 

Participants will also discuss the commitment of the laity in favor of the inculturation of the Gospel in the dialogue between faith and culture, the experiences of the laity in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and the testimony of Christian charity and service to the poor. 

Another day of the congress will be dedicated to the topic of religious liberty. Participants will reflect further on areas of priority for evangelization: the renewal of parishes, the pastoral care and mission of the family.

They will also discuss the identity of Catholic schools, the evangelization of young people, the role of women in the Church and in society, and the participation of members of ecclesial movements and new communities, who will themselves report on their experiences in Asia and on their contribution to works of evangelization. 

The event will include a talk on Father Matteo Ricci, Jesuit priest and significant evangelizer of Asia.