The Laity within the Communion


We believe that we are called to encourage by all possible means the creation of lay communities that share our spiritual identity and mission. These communities can vary in their style, specific function or primary activity, in their form of organization, in the type of life they conduct, in the status or convictions of their members, and so on.

The three elements that are required for a lay person to enter and be part of the communion are the following:
To know and share the specific traits of our spiritual and apostolic identity.
To feel personally called by the Lord to live the spirituality and mission distinctive to the communion.
To be disposed to accept and practice the traits distinctive to our spirituality and mission.

Ordinarily laypeople enter to form part of the communion on becoming members of a lay community associated with our communion.

Each associated lay community determines the mechanisms by which its members enter its ranks, as well as the specific mechanisms of operation, growth and action and likewise the way of ensuring its complete fidelity to the principles of our spiritual and apostolic identity.

Nevertheless, cases can also arise, especially when appropriate lay communities do not exist for those who want to be part of the communion, in which the membership in the communion is effected through the Nazareth Community. 

In such cases, a person who fulfills the three established requisites can express to the Coordinator of the Nazareth Community his desire to belong and the latter, in a way that accords with the details of the particular case, proceeds to admit him to the communion. he is admitted, however, on condition that he accept the responsibility to take the steps necessary to develop a lay community that would be appropriate for carrying out the specific type of mission to which he feels called, while maintaining the spiritual and apostolic identity distinctive to the communion.

When there are men who feel called to lead the celibate life and live in a community permanently, but do not feel called to holy orders or in some way are not suitable for such ministry, they can be part of the Nazareth Community permanently, sharing all the characteristic aspects of its life and carrying out our missionary identity through their style of life and the activities that, in accord with their capabilities, they can accomplish.

We believe that, according to the religious tradition from which a person comes and his personal convictions, there can be three types of members in our communion.

   Full members. Catholic persons who want to belong to the communion.
Affiliated members.  Those who belong to non-catholic communities
Adjunct members.  Those who, while not being Christian, feel called to share some fundamental aspects with our mission.

Members of the communion in all three categories participate in all the responsibilities and obligations of our communion. In addition, to the extent to which personal convictions and the ordinary practice of the church permit, they can also participate in the various activities and initiatives that are undertaken.

Within these parameters, communities of varied composition can be associated with the communion:
With regard to gender, there can be communities of men, of women, or of both, of married couples, of families, and so on.
With regard to the mode of concretizing the common life, there can be communities that live permanently in a community and communities that simply meet sporadically to promote growth and the experience of our spiritual and apostolic identity, which ought to be continuously manifest as an attitude of life through whatever type of activity that is done, whatever their place of abode or status.

As the religious convictions that they may have, we are open to communities associating with us that are catholics or Christians of other denominations or are simply non-catholic Christians or even non Christians. In these cases, under the understanding that they share and accept the three required elements to be members of the communion, spiritual union will be fostered and deepened through the bonds of communion, and the road to understanding in all the spheres possible will be traveled, but a clear and specific effort is to be made not to fall into any type of syncretism, but rather to promote respect for the confessional identity and the beliefs of each one of the members of the community and work toward overcoming the barriers that hinder reaching full unity with respect to the diversity of traditions and forms of expression.

For its part, the Nazareth Community accepts the responsibility of giving spiritual, theological and other instruction that may be necessary to the members of the various communities of laypeople and likewise the Nazareth members will consider generous service to each of the communities as a priority and basic obligation, serving them with the style and characteristics that ought to identify the exercise of ministry within our communion.