Archbishop Leo Cushley joined 210 people from 74 countries for a conference in Rome exploring co-operation between clergy, religious and laity.
Hosted by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, its theme was Pastors and lay faithful, called to walk together and it featured an audience with the Holy Father.
Archbishop Cushley said: “I was very pleased to spend time with representatives of the Church from all over the world to look again at the Holy Father’s wish to grow the sense in us of the co-responsibility of the laity for the life of the Church.
“This is something that has existed as a concept since Vatican II (eg Lumen Gentium 31, 33) and renewed by Pope Francis (eg Praedicate Evangelium 10), but with every generation, there is always more that can be done."
We learned of different ways in different places that clergy, religious and laity all cooperate for the greater good
He added: “We learned of different ways in different places that clergy, religious and laity all cooperate for the greater good, not to become the same, not to clericalise the laity or laicise the clergy, but in order for us all to flourish in the role proper to them and with a more mature sense of discipleship and of mission.”
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, said the conference "intended to raise awareness among pastors and laity alike of the significance of the responsibility that stems from baptism and that unites us all".
He added: “All members of the People of God, pastors and lay faithful alike, share full responsibility for the life, mission, care, management and growth of the People of God.
"We must go to a much deeper understanding of what it means to be co-responsible for the life of the church.”
The International Conference for Bishops and Referents of Episcopal Commissions for the Laity took place at New Synod Hall, Rome, 16-18 February 2023). Find out more here.