The Formation of the Ghanaian Catholic Laity as Agents of the New Evangelization

James Yamekeh, Ackah, Benjamin Spears Ngmekpele, Cheabu


The Seventh General Assembly of the Ordinary Synod of Bishops[1], commonly known as the Synod on the Laity[2], was held in Rome from 1st October to 30th October 1987. Since this Synod the Church has paid more attention to the vocation of the laity especially in the mission of salvation for all. Following the aforementioned, in December, 1988 Christifideles Laici – an Apostolic Exhortation was signed by Pope John Paul II. He declared this as a fruit of the Synod process and “a faithful and coherent expression of it,[3]” having explicitly quoted about forty-five out of the fifty-four of the Synod’s final propositions. As the most important papal statement on the laity since the Second Vatican Council, this document has occasioned considerable publicity, aroused immense interest, inspired so much passion, and generated numerous treatises and comments from both experts and practitioners.

[1]The institution of the Synod of Bishops was created by Pope Paul VI in 1965 aiming at addressing issues that are pastoral in character, urgent, and of importance for the universal Church. The word “Synod” means “a journey together.” This Ordinary Synod differs from the Extraordinary Synods held in 1969 and 1985 in that they have more participants, have fuller agenda and take place over a longer period.

[2]Addressing the Italian Episcopal Conference in May 1985 John Paul II recalled the importance that Vatican II had placed on the laity’s contribution to the mission of the Church in the world and gave two reasons for choosing the vocation and the mission of the laity as the topic of the 1987 Ordinary Synod of Bishops, the first being “the increased awareness of the role that the laity play in the work of salvation,” and the second relating to the need to respond to the suggestion of many bishops throughout the world. See John Paul II, “[Address to the Italian Episcopal Conference:] Propose Suitable Pastoral Lines in the Light of Loreto Discourse,” L’Osservatore Romano (30 September 1985) 9.

[3]Christifideles Laici, no. 2.

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