LAY APOSTOLATE ORGANIZATIONS
The Diocese has a few lay apostolate organizations which are doing fine work in their respective fields. Every encouragement is given to these organizations to function effectively. The organizations are as follows:
1) Vincent de Paul Society
Christian concern for the poor and the suffering is expressed through this association. Men and women come together and plan out how to help the poor in the parish. The members hold regular meetings, pray together, collect contributions and distribute them to the poor. They visit the sick and the suffering and reach them with timely aid.
2) Legion of Mary
The differentiating criterion of Catholics from the other Christian denominations is the deep devotion Catholics have for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Praying the rosary in the Catholic homes every day and its common recitation in ecclesial assemblies is done without fail. The Catholics take legitimate pride in seeking the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Every effort is made to spread this devotion among Catholics and the non-Catholics Christians and even among non-Christians. This is done by the members of the Legion of Mary. This association exists in many parishes. The Legionaries try to emulate the virtues of the Virgin of Nazareth and inculcate these in others. Their regular visits to the Catholic families of the parish, their sympathetic hearing of the problems of the people, the prayer they offer for the members of the families they visit, especially for the sick, are some aspects of their activity.
3) Young Catholic Students
The Catholic Youth Movement functions on the national level. Many of the schools in the Diocese have units of this national organization. Catholic students in our schools are grouped together by the directors of the respective schools. Since the directors of schools are also parish priests, the organization and instruction of the Catholic students who attend the schools attached to the parish is an important task for them. Besides instructing them in the fundamentals of faith, with the assistance of the religious sisters who help out in the school, the parish priests instill in the young students the basic principles of morality and train them to take up responsibilities in the community as they grow up. As a result of the hard work of missionaries for years, our poor Christian families are showing a clear desire to get their children educated. The Young Catholic Students Movement in this Diocese gives great hope of having an educated and dedicated laity in the future.
4) Jesus Youth
Functioning in close collaboration with the Commission for Youth and the prayer movements, Jesus Youth is another strong movement taking shape in some of the parishes. Active and zealous young men and women band together and engage themselves in the study of the Bible and organizing prayer. They are under the guidance of the coordinator of the North Zone of the Jesus Youth. Training programmes are arranged for them periodically. The Jesus Youth have a very salutary influence on the parish. Through their active participation in parish life, the youth are motivated to shun drugs and unhealthy activities.
5) Holy Childhood Society
The Diocesan unit of the Holy Childhood Society is very active amongst both school- and non-school going children. The Society organizes camps and seminars for children up to the age of 15, on a regular basis in all the parishes, during summer holidays and the festive seasons. The annual gathering of children for Christmas celebration is now held in four places to make it convenient for more children to participate. On a particular day in the octave of the Christmas, the children gather together in the designated places for prayer and a common Christmas celebration followed by a peace march. The children look forward to this event with great enthusiasm.
The Society also prints and distributes pocket calendars with bible quotations to all the children in all our educational institutions. These are very much appreciated by the great majority of our non-Christian students. These students are also very generous in their annual contribution to the Holy Childhood Society, the proceeds of which are dispatched every year to the National Director of Pontifical Mission Aid Societies.
6) Catholic Union
An organization under the name “Catholic Union of Punjab” was established as a socio-political wing of the Church in Punjab. This was a unit of the Catholic Council of India. The purpose of this union was to represent the Church in the social and political spheres. It was an organization of the laity and functioned independently of, though in close collaboration with, the Church. Motivated Catholic laity as members of this organization tries to exert their influence in society and in government for the application of Christian moral principles in these spheres. They defend human rights and the rights of deprived sections of the Christian community.
The Catholic Union has been active under the present president Mr. Tarsem Sahota, in the needs of the Church, especially in dealing with any public complaints against the Church run institutions and against the organized activities by disgruntled elements who are envious of the growth of the Church.