Fr. Harry Winter, OMI: “Laity as the Prime Evangelizers”
By Father Harry Winter, OMI
The Second Vatican Council, in two documents, signaled a massive change for all interested in Evangelization. In the Decree on Missionary Activity, the bishops wrote: “The pilgrim Church is missionary by its very nature” (#2). And in the Decree on the Lay Apostolate, they wrote “modern conditions demand that the apostolate of the laity be broadened and intensified” (#1).
In 1967, the Charismatic Movement exploded in all the Christian Churches, producing vast numbers of laity who reached out to all, with Christ’s love. Most recently, the two Synods on the Family, and Pope Francis’ letter summarizing these Synods, Amoris Laetitia, call Oblates to urgently rethink our methods of first formation, and ongoing formation, concerning evangelization.
Since evangelization is the overarching director of Justice/Peace, Integrity of Creation; of Ecumenism; and of Dialogue, the reevaluation becomes even more important. Because there are now more Oblate Associates (the vast majority laity) in the USA than vowed Oblates, this startling development also means more attention to laity. For more information on Oblate Associates, go to our national website www.omiusa.org, and on the right side, “Looking for Something,” you will find Oblate Associates fifth from the top.
As part of this redirection, the website Mission-Unity-Dialogue secured the help of Mrs. Bernard (Lisa) Hunke. Her background and ministry is described on the home page (www.harrywinter.org), and a new page “Family-Laity” has been created on the website.
As part of this rethinking, I highly recommend the insight by Father George Kuryvial, OMI, a priest for 58 years: “David Power OMI’s book Gifts That Differ is sort of my text book for ministry.” As Pope Francis seeks to declericalize the Church, regarding the laity as having gifts that differ from the clergy is a precious insight. Power’s second, revised edition of Gifts That Differ is available for almost nothing from Amazon.com.