Yet another lay community devoted to evangelization has been approved by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The Shalom Community was founded in Brazil in 1982 to evangelize youth and to counter the influence of liberation theology according to this New York Times piece on the evangelization of youth written at the time of Pope John Paul II's death.
Maria Emmir, one of the founders, says that Shalom Community has about 50,000 members.
Zenit has publishing a short description of all the approved lay movements and EWTN has a list here. There are 76 listed. It is fascinating to see the breadth of the list. Not all are conservative politically. A number are only 25 -30 years old.
Some are well-known, like Communion and Liberation, Regnum Christ, Sant'Egidio, and the Legion of Mary. I noticed that the Cooperators of Opus Dei are listed but of course, not Opus Dei iteself, since it is not a lay movement. But some are unexpected.
Did you know that the Cursillo movement, Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (the international office of the charismatic renewal in Rome), Marriage Encounter, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are officially approved "lay movements?"
More of us are part of or "cooperators" with lay movements than we knew!
Check out less familiar movements like the Emmanuel Community and Foyers de Charité.
And this one, whom I had never heard of: The Association of Missionaries of Political Charity:
"Twenty years ago, a man named Alfred Luciani founded the Association of Missionaries of Political Charity, an organization devoted to the promotion of Catholic social teaching in the world of politics. Cardinal Pironio recognized the group for its efforts to "promote and cultivate authentic Christian vocations toward political engagement."
Thus the canonical recognition of the group is, in effect, an acknowledgment by the Church that the members of the Association have a calling to work within the secular world for the promotion of the Gospel. Cardinal Pironio explained that under the new Code of Canon Law-- informed by the call of Vatican II for lay people to work within the secular world to transform their society-- recognizes the validity and importance of such lay vocations.
For Alfredo Luciani, the founder and president of the Association, the new canonical recognition is "an extraordinary event." Working as a Christian in the political world, he said, is a form of "service for the common good." Such a calling, he insisted, should be presented to the laity as a form of sanctification and evangelization. Toward that end, his Association insists that lay people must receive the political training and spiritual formation they need to make their work a form of apostolate, guided not only by good intentions but by the highest professional standards as well.
Imagine serous formation for Catholic politicians. We could use some of that in this country!