March 28, 2009



The third annual DFW Lay Council was held on March 28, 2009 at Tarrant County College – Southeast, in Arlington, TX.  Sponsor of the event was Voices For Renewal (VFR), a local non-profit organization formed in 2003.  VFR, along with fellow Catholics from Dallas, sponsored the first DFW Lay Council in May 2007, with the theme “The Laity’s Rights and Obligations in Canon Law”.  The Dallas group hosted the second DFW Lay Council in April 2008, with author Paul Lakeland discussing his book, Catholicism at the Crossroads.


The day’s theme, “The Challenge of Being Catholic Now”, was an invitation to reflect on and to share in the variety of complex issues of our faith journeys.  This third Lay Council gave voice and value to the diversity within our church family. 


VFR’s intention for this third Lay Council was to celebrate our faith journey as we respond to the urgings of the Holy Spirit.  VFR took the position that the day would be one of respect for each individual voice, and therefore VFR would neither endorse nor censor any individual’s views.  The goals governing Lay Council participation were:


• To experience and celebrate diversity in the church community
• To be open, inclusive and hospitable to all
• To provide a forum for ideas and dialogue
• To be re-energized on our journey by faith, hope and love



Individuals representing the diversity within the Church today were invited to speak.  In morning and afternoon panels, ten individuals shared their faith journeys.  Following each panel, round table discussions were held during which attendees and panel participants enjoyed free-flowing conversations about their faith journeys.


Striking commonalities voiced by each panelist showed similar elements in their faith journeys.  Specifically there was a strong experience of God’s presence, of God’s invitation, of transformational life events at various ages from childhood to adulthood, bringing the individual to conscious decisions regarding faith and belief.




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