In response to the Committee's request, I am presenting the following thoughts on the role of the Maronite laity in the Church in a changing society as we move into the 21st Century. The role of the Maronite laity is part of the overall laity in the Christian and Catholic Church, of course, in differing from the role of those dedicated to God in a more "official" way. But the role of the Maronite laity springs from a spiritually rich Eastern heritage. This heritage, a legacy of the early Church at Antioch where the followers of Christ were called Christians for the first time, is part of the gift that the Maronite laity can offer the world.
And what might this specifically Maronite lay role be, you may be asking? To understand that role we must first deepen our appreciation of Baptism, for in Baptism is grounded the role of everyone, clergy and laity alike. The role that is more central to the Church is the laity's role, for every Catholic -- including the clergy -- is always baptized first as laity.
The term laity comes from the Greek word , which means "people." In time it came to refer to baptized Christian people who are not ordained but share in the universal