Category Archives: Catholic Laity

Chiara Lubich’s cause for sainthood opened

Today, word was received that the Most Reverend Raffaello Martinelli, bishop of Frascati, opened the diocesan process for the cause of beatification for Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Opus Mariae (Work of Mary) – Focolare Movement. On 7 December 2013, the formal request was made by the current president of the Focolare Movement, Maria Voce, the direct successor to Chiara, to open the cause. The date of December 7th is significant because it was the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Movement. At the time of the formal request to Bishop Martinelli, Voce said: “This act invites us all to a life of greater holiness, lived day by day to contribute towards collective sanctity, that sanctity of the people so dear to Chiara’s heart.”

Chiara Lubich died on 14 March 2008. The officials of the Focolare Movement estimate that more than 120.000 have visited the sites where she lived and where her mortal remains rest.

The Movement has one their members beatified (Luce Badano) and 12 others who have their causes being studied.

Who were the Beguines?

some beguines.jpgThe beguines? Indeed, a good question. I have only heard of the beguines in a school a decade ago and thought nothing more of them. The beguines are a group of women who’re not nuns bound by vows, but lived in community and wore a habit. A lay movement from the 12th century. The women who followed the beguine way of life were united in the common life, in prayer, in mission, that is, they had a life of living of the gospel in service of humanity. 

Imagine my surprise when on May 12th The Economist published an article on the death of Marcella Pattyn (+April 14, 2013), the last beguine. Sister Marcella, 92, was blind and was refused entrance to the religious orders of her time.
Who were the beguines?“, The Economist opens a door.
It seems to me that the vocation to be a beguines is still needed today. Anyone willing to take up this vocation anew? To live your baptismal call more and more intensely without the constraints of vows (and the dysfunction?) of religious life is what’s happening today with the rise of ecclesial movements and secular institutes.
Let us pray for the repose of the soul of Marcella Pattyn, may her memory be eternal.

Lay apostolate and lay ministry…know the difference?

Well, apparently the bishops of Scotland haven’t clue on how to answer a simple Master of Divinity question on the difference between the “lay apostolate and lay ministry” either, until today when Pope Benedict let them know a little secret:

Hand in hand with a proper appreciation of the priest’s role is a correct understanding of the specific vocation of the laity. Sometimes a tendency to confuse lay apostolate with lay ministry has led to an inward-looking concept of their ecclesial role. Yet the Second Vatican Council‘s vision is that wherever the lay faithful live out their baptismal vocation – in the family, at home, at work – they are actively participating in the Church’s mission to sanctify the world. A renewed focus on lay apostolate will help to clarify the roles of clergy and laity and so give a strong impetus to the task of evangelizing society.

from Pope Benedict XVI’s Ad Limina Address to the Bishops of Scotland

What is meant by the term “ministry”? John Paul II said, “The language becomes doubtful, confused and hence not helpful for expressing the doctrine of the faith whenever the difference ‘of essence and not merely of degree’ between the baptismal priesthood and the ordained priesthood is in any way obscured.” In another place he said, “Only in virtue of sacred ordination does the word [ministry] obtain that full univocal meaning that tradition has attributed to it. There is an urgent pastoral need to clarify and purify terminology, because behind it there can lurk dangers far more treacherous than one may think. It is a step from current language to conceptualization.”

If you want to know, read the following:

Pope John Paul II, Christifideles Laici (1988)

Adé Béthune: 7th anniversary

Adé Béthune.jpg

Today is the 7th
anniversary of death of Adé Béthune, a renowned artist and liturgical scholar
of Newport, Rhode Island. Much of her influence was known through the Saint Leo League –an organization to assist the laity and the clergy to live the sacred Liturgy more fully. Out of the Saint Leo League came the publication, Sacred Signs, which published a quarterly review of articles on the liturgical arts (iconography, book reviews, articles, parish helps, museum notes; Sacred Signs is timely now as it was when still in print. She had a passion for liturgical art and sacred
music, especially Gregorian Chant.

Adé was an Oblate of Saint Benedict of the
Abbey of Saint Gregory the Great – Portsmouth, where she is buried in the abbey
cemetery. When I was at the abbey recently I made a special point in visiting her grave to offer a prayer for her.

The collection of her artist work and intellectual work is held at The College of Saint Catherine (St. Paul, MN).

You can read the Catholic Worker obit for Adé and the Time Magazine piece on Adé’s work in 1962.

May she rest in

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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