LAY leaders of the future— a dozen young people who gathered at St. Nicholas' School, Leeds, last weekend for the first session of a new training scheme—were told they were bound to make mistakes as they tried to play their part in the community. But this must be expected and accepted.
Sponsored by Grail, the ninemonth course will continue each Sunday. Fr. Bernard Basset, Si.. and Fr. Michael Buckley of St. Patrick's, Leeds, will instruct people ranging from sixth formers to young nuns and priests.
LEARNING TO LEAD
Once their course is completed they will return to the parish and commu nity organisations to which ihey belong and try to give it new life. The aim of the programme is not to found new groups, hut to operate within the old.
We hope-to teach the techniques of modern Catholic Action," Fr. Buckley said this week. The laymen and women will learn how to lead, how to organise, and bow to speak in public. The opening challenges last Sunday set the tone for the course: "Every organisation has something to sell", said Fr. Basset. "Our Lord sold eternal life, He needs more salesmen. The greatest
weapon the lay apostolate has in society is sympathy—because the scourge of the welfare slate is loneli ness.
"Where the Welfare State is static and impersonal we have to regard people as individuals. What has passed for Catholic Action before this has been largely useless because of our ghetto mentality—and now we have to set it aside to do our job in the community.
Fr. Basset explained the problems of the present-day Church by drawing Cardinal Newman's analogy with the stream which becomes a river. "While it is still a stream," he said, "we can see into it and see how clear it is. As it swells and grows into a river it becomes more powerful. Broken-down old rubbish gets swept into it by its very strength and this bobs up and down, sometimes at the surface, sometimes below it, "This has happened in the Church. The brook of the Holy Land was easy to see into. The Church into which it grew has some rubbish in it. But we should not be ashamed of acknowledging it."
The challenge which Fr. Basset gave the laymen was the challenge of "every organisation which has something to sell. Our Lord sold eternal life. He needs more salesmen".
Fr. Buckley spoke of the need for priests to accept the lay apostolate and to follow Pope John's
lead when he said, "The Layman is the Church".
"The time has come for us to stop playing about. We must train the layman in modern techniques, and then the layman must le trusted. If they make mistakes, se must expect ,it; they must find their feet.
"Our Lord, before he did anything for anyone, always asked something of people. He asked the woman at the well for a drink of water. If the priest would only ask something of the layman, then the laymen would be ready to feel they belong."
JOINT SERVICE FOR COUNCIL
An ecumenical service will he held in Portsmouth's Anglican Cathedral for the annual conference of the National Council of Women from October 12 to 15. H Will be the first such service at a conference of the council.
The Anglican Provost of Portsmouth, the Very Rev. E. N. Porter Goff, will conduct the service and give the address. Rabbi D. Lincoln will read a lesson from the Old Testament, Canon B. Lindsay, Provost of the Chapter of the Catholic Cathedral, Portsmouth, will lead the Thanksgiving; and the Rev. T. Greenaway, President of the Portsmouth and District Free Church Council, will lead the Intercessions.