In this preview of the Second Vatican Council from May 6, 1961, Fr. Robert Graham excitedly announced that “the age of the lay apostolate is arriving”:
Without waiting for more developments, we can safely assert that the Second Vatican Council will mark a historic turning point in the apostolic life of the Church. The relatively untapped energies of the lay Catholic will be channeled at last into the main stream of the Church’s apostolate. Pope John XXIII indicated as much when receiving the Permanent Committee of the International Congresses for the Lay Apostolate on February 8. He said that this question would be “an object of vital concern and special study.” Later, in the annual official publication, Activities of the Holy See in 1960, the Central Preparatory Commission stated categorically that the nature, prerogatives and limitations of the lay apostolate would be studied in detail at the council, on the level of both theory and practice, with special reference to its relations with the hierarchy.
Such authoritative forecasts reflect the virtually unanimous wishes of the bishops of the whole world. The age of the lay apostolate is arriving. To speak more accurately, that day has already arrived. It remains only for the Fathers of the council to give it formal recognition. Continue reading