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The Church as the Family of Trinity: The Identity and Mission of the Laity

Abstract: The Church as a communion of believers is rooted in Jesus Christ, the founder. The Holy Trinity is the source of the communion of the Church. The Church grows through missionary activities conducted by different ministries (clergy, laity and other ministries). Important questions arise from this premise; what is the role and place of the lay people in the Church’s missionary activities? Is the presence of the lay people recognized in the Church? If yes, in what ways? By virtue of the sacrament of baptism all faithful share a responsibility for the Church’s mission. All baptized faithful share common priesthood through baptism. However, what is the limitation between the lay faithful and the Orders by the Holy Spirit in terms of participating in missionary activities? Upon this reflection, it is anticipated that it is better to balance and harmonize this problem by researching on the Church as the Family of Trinity. This paper therefore discusses the identity and mission of the laity in the Church by showing the position of the lay faithful to the Church’s apostolate. In this paper, I recognize that, the common priesthood of the faithful and that of ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated. This implies that, each of them in its own special way participates in one priesthood of Christ. Therefore, equality does not cancel the diversity in the ministries. This diversity is due to the Holy Spirit through which the Church is ordered and governed by a wonderful diversity. The model taken is of the Church as the Family of Trinity. That is, the communion of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as the model to the earthly Church. The aim of the Church as family of Trinity is to restore the correct balance and relationship between the institutional aspects of the Church and mystical. The two realities are inseparable and need each other. However, the whole purpose of the visible society is to proclaim and draw its members into the mystery of communion. This paper is primarily contextual to Africa. Its reflection is that; because of pyramidal Catholic Church in Africa, many lay Catholic faithful do not feel at home in the Catholic Church. The researcher believes that, fraternity has been wiped away because of the institutional model. Basing on the Trinitarian ecclesiology therefore, the Church as family of Trinity places all faithful as equal despite the hierarchical organization of the Church. Ultimately, this will lead to a life of brotherhood and sisterhood. The recognition and the awareness of the laity of their mission in the Church and in the world, makes the lay people to witness their believe in words and deeds especially in the education of the young generation. Key words: Church, Trinity, Family, Africa, Laity and Identity


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