The Lay Apostolate


Then the eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to meet him. When they saw him, they prostrated themselves before him, although some doubted. Then Jesus approached them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:16-20).

So much had happened in three short years. Away from his fellow disciples, Peter would have recalled that day when Jesus called him

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the water, for they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately, they abandoned their nets and followed him (Matthew 4:18-20).

Jesus had spent half his life as a rabbi, a teacher of the Jewish faith. The people he called to follow him were involved in secular occupations. Peter was a fisherman. 

Why the lay apostolate?

Russell Shaw (2013) presents the view that the lay apostolate has a priority over other forms of lay participation in the mission of the Church. He bases his view on what is stated in Lumen Gentium regarding the laity, namely that they “are given this special vocation: to make the Church present and fruitful in those places and circumstances where it is only through them that she can become the salt of the earth” (LG, 33).

And again: “The characteristic of the lay state being a life led in the midst of the world and of secular affairs, laymen are called to make of their apostolate . . . a leaven in the world” (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 2).

Richard Patrick Branson