I would like to know more information about lay orders in Australia and can I join since I am a married Sri Lankan?
"Lay Orders" can mean a whole variety of things to many people. It is most commonly used to describe an association of lay people with a common spirituality who have some sort of structure to their grouping. There is a wide range of different names for such groups but I can give you some general ideas.
One group are those "Lay Orders" that structure themselves very like a religious order, to the point where members may even take promises or vows, have a Rule of Life and have a formal governance structure approved by the Church. Oblates of St. Benedict, Secular Franciscans, Third Order Carmelites and Dominican Tertiaries are all examples of these. They tend to be associated with the charism of some of the older religious orders and are often called "Third Orders." If you are interested in these and their charisms, you are best advised to make contact with the Religious Order and they can, in turn, put you in touch with the Third Order.
The next group are those who work with professed religious and share their spirituality but who make no promises or commitments. Josephite Associates, Salesian Cooperators, Augustinian Lay Collaborators are all examples of these. You will often find these called "Associates" and again, if you have an interest in them, you should make contact with the religious order and then they will put you in touch with the Associate group.
A third group of "Lay Order" are those not directly tied to a Religious Order but whose members share a common spirituality and come together for some task. The Society of St.Vincent de Paul is a good example, as are the Legion of Mary, the Serra Clubs, the Teams of Our Lady and other similar groups. To find out more, you should contact the group directly.
A final set of these groups is fairly recent and involve a shared commitment amongst members even if there are no formal vows. These would cover both what are called "Covenant Communities" and "New Ecclesial Movements." Some good examples are the Emmanuel Covenant Community, the Disciples of Jesus, the San Egidio Movement and Communione Liberazione. If these are of interest to you, you should contact them directly.
So, Terrance, there are really two questions you need to consider
1. "What style of participation suits me best?" You need to reflect on your lifestyle, your amount of free time, your energy level and its impact on your wife Are you seeking to make formal promises? Is something that only requires a regular gathering better suited to you? Are you looking to work beside fellow members?
2. "To what charism do I feel drawn?" All "Lay Orders" have a charism and spirituality, whether it be shared with formal religious orders or not. It is important that you are comfortable with that charism and feel as if you have something to contribute. If you long to be out doing something to remedy injustice, a spirituality that is predominantly around meditation might not suit you, and vice versa.
Once you have some idea of what you are seeking, make contact with the group or groups and ask for more information. If you cannot find them, your parish priest might be able to know where to find them.
I hope this is helpful for you
You've asked a really good question, but it would take a lot of explaining and the space here is limited. Basically, there are four vocations that adults can choose to be married, to be single, to be a sister (nun) or brother, or to be a priest.
I've got a suggestion for you. You will find a lot of information about each of these vocations if you visit out our OzVocations website. It's http://www.catholicozvocations.org.au/.
Thanks for getting in touch
Thanks for your question
VOCATION - In baptism each person is called by God to follow Jesus in a life of holiness and service. This call may be lived out indifferent vocations in marriage, as a single person, or as a priest, brother or sister.
You might like to revisit our OzVocations website http://www.catholicozvocations.org.au/ and find out more about each of these ways of living our Christian Vocation.
Sr Mary Ryan
Thanks for your email
This is how we explain vocation
Every Christian person has a vocation. Our word 'vocation' comes from the Latin 'vocation' which means 'a calling'. Through baptism each person is called by God to become more like Jesus Christ- to share his life and love, to grow in knowledge and love of God, and to place our personal gifts and talents at the service of others.
God's call is always an invitation to 'choose life' (Deuteronomy 3019) God calls many to choose life in the vocation of marriage some to choose life in the single vocation and others to choose life in the vocations of sisters, brothers, priests and deacons. We come to know and appreciate the vocation to which God calls each person through prayer and reflection, and through speaking with others about our hopes and desires, our gifts and talents. In responding to God's call to each of us, we can experience what Jesus has promised 'I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full' (John 10 10).
You might like to look through our OzVocations website, and discover more about the different vocations that adults choose in order that they might come to fullness of life.
Check out http://www.catholicozvocations.org.au/.
I hope this helps your understanding of vocation.
Thanks for your question.
Most adult Catholics choose the vocation of marriage.
A smaller number choose to be single.
A tiny number choose to be priests, brothers and sisters.