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On the Laity

Blessings of Age: A Pastoral Message on Growing Older Within the Faith Community. The U.S. bishops invite older persons, their families, and their faith communities to develop new initiatives that encourage the participation of older persons in society and in the Church. Recognizing the social, economic, and spiritual implications of this rapidly growing age group, the bishops encourage a fresh perspective that embraces the gift of aging.

Called and Gifted: The American Catholic Laity. Reflections of the U.S. bishops commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of the issuance at the Second Vatican Council of the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (Apostolicam Actuositatem).

Called and Gifted for the Third Millennium. On the thirtieth anniversary of the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity and the fifteenth anniversary of Called and Gifted, the U.S. bishops offer new reflections on the four calls in the earlier document—to holiness, to community, to ministry, to Christian maturity—and identify some of the new challenges that lie ahead.

Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (Apostolicam Actuositatem). This document from the Second Vatican Council discusses the vocation of the laity in the fulfillment of the mission of the Church.

The Dignity of Older People and Their Mission in the Church and in the World. Through their memory, experience, and vision, older people contribute invaluable gifts to the mission of the Church. In celebration of the United Nations' International Year of Older Persons, the Pontifical Council for the Laity offers this document to stimulate reflection and commitment throughout the Church regarding its senior members.

The Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World (Christifideles Laici). Pope John Paul II's post-synodal apostolic exhortation rejoices with the mission of the lay faithful of the Church, envisioning them as the "laborers of the vineyard" in the Gospel of Matthew. English: No. 274-8, $7.95.

On Justice and Evangelization

These publications can be ordered from the United States Catholic Conference at 800-235-8722.

Everyday Christianity—To Hunger and Thirst for Justice. A brief reflection on the bishops' statement, Communities of Salt and Light. Discusses practical tools in Catholic social teaching. From the U.S. bishops' Department of Social Development and World Peace. English: No. 5-116, $1.50. Spanish: No. 5-117, $1.50

Go and Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States. The U.S. bishops propose three goals for evangelization, recommend strategies, and offer resources for proclaiming the story of salvation. English: No. 556-9, $3.50. Spanish: No. 592-5, $3.50.

Other Suggested Resources

"Celebrating the Single Life" by Dr. Susan Annette Muto

Gifts Unfolding: The Lay Vocation Today with Questions for Tomorrow. A nuts-and-bolts approach to the theological and pastoral issues facing today's laity, particularly those involved in leadership roles. From the U.S. bishops' Committee on the Laity.

One Body: Different Gifts, Many Roles—Reflections on the American Catholic Laity. From the U.S. bishops' Committee on the Laity. English: No. 162-8, $3.95.Sons and Daughters of the Light: A Pastoral Plan for Ministry with Young Adults. Men and women in their late teens, twenties, and thirties bring tremendous gifts to the Church. With this in mind, the U.S. bishops address the life situation of these individuals and offer a comprehensive and workable plan of action for connecting young adults with the Church, Jesus Christ, the mission of the Church in the world, and a peer community.