A June 23 seminar in Mumbai, India, sought to help Catholics, including families and young people, commit to living a spirit of faith and renewal as part of their role in evangelization.

Seminar organizer Fr. Hilary Fernandes, who has led efforts to train local fishermen folk groups, told CNA that the goal of the event was to help lay people "intensify their apostolic activity" so that they may more fully exercise their mission in the Church and in the world.

The seminar, entitled "Lay Leadership in the Church and Society," was held on the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time, which is celebrated as Laity Sunday in the Archdiocese of Mumbai.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias extolled and acknowledged the apostolic mission of the laity in his circular letter dated June 10. 

He referenced Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter for the Year of Faith, Porta Fidei, reiterating its call for believers not to grow "lazy in faith." 

Cardinal Gracias also called for Laity Sunday to be celebrated according to the guidelines issued by the Office for Lay Collaboration in Ministry, with prayer and participation in a diocesan rally. 

Fr. Fernandes emphasized the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, which recognized lay people's "indispensable role in the mission of the Church," as well as the "apostolic duty" to prepare them.

In order to fill their role within the Church, members of the laity must not only be passively devoted, but active in shouldering their responsibility to evangelize, he said.

This requires an effort on behalf of all to "dialogue with culture, time and space," he said, describing the calling of the laity as an opportunity for "transformation and renewal" for all people, especially for young people to "discern" how their lifestyle and mindset can contribute to spreading the message of Christ. 

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