HOW to ensure that next year's Third World Congress for the Lay Apostolate in Rome is "universal" is causing headaches among the planners in the Vatican City.
One of the big problems is finance, especially the financing of delegates from the poorer "developing nations". However, Miss Rosemary Goldie, executive secretary of the permanent committee of COPECIAL (Permanent Committee for International Congresses of the Lay Apostolate) told the directive board last week that the congress was prompting "exceptional interest."
The congress which will be held from October 11 to 18 will coincide with the first meeting of the world bishops' synod in Rome. It will be held in the Palazzo Pioa auditorium near St. Peter's basilica. Preparations have been made for simultaneous translation into five languages during the sessions.
"The ferment which has been growing in the Church throughout the world as a result of the Vatican Council," Miss Goldie said, "is a sign of the vitality among the people of God. The world congress will attempt to clarify the direction of this vitality and facilitate implementation of the true spirit of the Council." On a regional basis, Miss Goldie said, meetings have been held in Washington, D.C., for North America; Buenos Aires for Latin America, and St. Polten, Austria, for Europe.
In addition, congress officials conducted two "itinerant consultations" in Africa last summer to assess and coordinate preparations for the congress.
Similar steps will be taken in Asia "in the next few months," Miss Goldie said.
Though the programme for the congress is still in its formative stages, Miss Goldie said, workshops will concentrate on two areas: first, the situation of the world and its problems, and, secondly, the laity's response to this situation in light of the Council.
She said questionnaires have been sent to lay leaders throughout the world asking them to outline "their first experience in implementation of the council as far as the laity is concerned."
Results of this inquiry will form the basis for workshop discussions on "the laity's response," she said.
Separate plans are already underway among theologians and lay leaders for other workshops on the theme of the church in the modern world.