The unique, crucial and irreplaceable vocation of every lay Catholic is to be a saint in the world, helping to bring family, friends, communities, and all temporal affairs to Jesus Christ – so said Archbishop Leo Cushley in a Pastoral Letter to the clergy and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh, 14  October.

“The role of all lay people is, therefore, to preach Christ by their actions as well as their words, by the presence and the witness of their lives, by the Faith they believe and the values they hold,” wrote Archbishop Cushley.

“In these ways the laity permeate society with the grace and truth of Christ. Needless to say, in this way also, the laity can and do bring Christ to people in ways and in places that priests and religious cannot reach: in homes, in workplaces, in the political sphere and in social settings.”

The Archbishop’s pastoral letter comes only a week after a very successful conference on the Role of the Laity was hosted by the Archdiocese in Edinburgh. In his letter, he explained that his comments were rooted in the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Lay Apostolate, Apostolicam Actuositatem, which stresses the complimentary relationship of the laity and the priesthood. The pastoral letter was read at every parish across the Archdiocese in the place of the regular Sunday homily.

“All God's people have a right and a duty to play their part in the life of the Church. It doesn't matter whether our contribution is through high profile projects or in quiet acts of virtue and charity,” wrote the Archbishop.

“What counts in God's eyes is purity and generosity of heart. And if we are to be effective apostles, it is crucial for all of us — bishop, clergy and people — to be united, mind and heart, in the full truth of the Catholic faith and in the life of grace.” The full Pastoral Letter can be read here.