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The definition of the laity as those not in Holy Orders is swept away by this historic document which provides a positive and clear expression of the identity, dignity, and role of lay people in the mission of the Church. The role of the laity was discussed at the 1987 Synod of Bishops. This led to Christifideles Laici, the first comprehensive statement on the calling and mission of lay people in the Church. A calling to fully participate in the new evangelisation. John Paul invites the laity as the labourers in the vineyard to labour for the kingdom.
John Paul starts from the basis that baptism is the source of every Christian's dignity and identity, and calls all to a life of holiness and service. The place of the laity in the Church is discussed, including participation in her life and mission with special reference to charisms and ministry. Great emphasis is placed on the shared responsibility of every lay Christian for the mission of the Church, and the need for a new evangelisation of individuals and society as a whole. Particular emphasis is given to the status and role of women.
Finally, John Paul ends by exhorting all lay people to be fruitful, and to work with the whole Church in obeying Christ's command to Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.