10 February 2020
Laity

Homily of Fr. Awi Mello on St. Vincent Pallotti: “In his theology of the apostolate, the co-responsibility of all”

The prophetic vision of St. Vincent Pallotti on the role of the laity in carrying out his program of revitalizing the faith was the focus of the homily given by the Secretary of our Dicastery, Father Alexandre Awi Mello, in the Roman Church of St. Salvatore in Onda, on the occasion of the triduum in preparation for the feast of St. Vincent Pallotti.

“Concerned about the weakening and insipidity of the faith in all levels of the Church,” Pallotti wrote in his time words “which can perfectly describe the situation in our own day.” In fact, he explained, “the mission of the Union, founded by St. Vincent Pallotti in 1835 and definitively approved in recent times by our Dicastery (while it was still the Pontifical Council for the Laity) as an ‘international public association of the faithful,’ consists in promoting the co-responsibility of all the baptized in reviving the faith, rekindling charity in the Church and in the world, and bringing all to unity in Christ.” (General Statutes, Rome 2008, art. 1)

The Secretary once more emphasized baptism: “We become priest, prophets, and kings; members of the laity (because we are all laypeople before our differentiation into specific vocations), disciples, and missionaries of Christ by the power of baptism.” He pointed out that, in addition to baptism, “Pallotti believed that a fundamental aspect of the lay apostolate is the universal call to love one’s neighbor.”

Father Awi then highlighted another “characteristic contribution” of Vincent Pallotti’s charism, “the collaboration between the different states of life in the universal apostolate of the Church; that is, the prophetic gift of integrating into a single ecclesial charism both consecrated persons and the lay faithful.” Indeed, Pallotti proposes to the Church “a theology of the apostolate where,” he concluded, “the laity are seen not as ‘auxiliaries of the hierarchy,’ but rather as those equally responsible for the revival of the faith, the rekindling of charity in the Church and in the world, and for bringing all to unity in Christ.”