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Catholic Action

Your Association is a “gymnasium” of synodality... Your most valuable contribution will once again come from your laity, which is an antidote to selfreferentiality (Pope Francis, 30.04.2021)

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Last update: 18 April 2024


The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council renewed the Catholic Church and Catholic Action. Some documents in particular are the basis of the Council’s renewal of CA.

No. 20 of the Apostolicama Actuositatem describes the 4 notes that, all together, characterise the Association of Catholic Action, by this name or by any other name: ecclesiality, laity, organicity, collaboration with the Bishops.


For Catholic Action, mission is not one task among others: it is the task. The charism of Catholic Action is to advance the Church’s pastoral activity. Unless mission is its distinctive strength, Catholic Action will lose its true nature and its reason for existing…

All Catholic Action members are missionaries in action. Children evangelize children, young people other young people, adults other adults, and so on. No one shows the joy of the life of faith more effectively than a peer…

I desire a Catholic Action present among people: in the parish, in the diocese, in towns and in neighbourhoods, in the family, in offices and workplaces, in the countryside, in all spheres of life. These are the new areopagi where decisions are made and culture is created…

You have proposed a Catholic Action that goes forth. This is good because it keeps you properly balanced. Going forth means openness, generosity, meeting reality outside the four walls of organizations and parishes. This means giving up trying to exercise undue control and to programme results. That freedom is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and it will help you to grow.

(Pope Francis to IFCA 27.10.2022)

ABC of Catholic Action

What is Catholic Action?

It is a lay association created by the same Church to evangelize people and realities in which the parishes are rooted. In close union with the Bishop of each diocese.
It offers an experience of life and faith, lived both individually and as a community, through a formation attentive to lay-people’s life, enlightened by the Gospel and oriented to mission, with full co-responsibility.

What is its mission?

A school of missionary disciples, which encourages the laypeople to “go out” to evan- gelize individually, incarnated in the ordinary reality, and helps to outline common paths of action for the mission.
Lay people who pay attention to the needs and urgencies of our world, willing to commit themselves to change for the construction of the civilization of love.


Catholic Action lives in the diocese and in the parish and is organised on a national and international level.
From the parish, taking the diocesan pastoral plans as its guidelines, CA works for the growth of the diocesan lay people, with attitude of service. CA is faithful to its true nature when it puts itself at the service of the parish where it lives.
Catholic Action dwells where the Church is. There each CA member is called to witness his belonging to the diocesan Church.

Who is part of it?

Catholic Action is for everyone, for children, youth and adults, for families, for laypeople of our parishes and dioceses in collaboration with priest assistants.

What does it offer?

Catholic Action is a “particular form of lay ministry” (Paul VI, 25 April 1977). It offers an organic proposal of associated apostolate in all parishes so that the lay people’s evangelising action can be more effective and is carried out in an atmosphere of communion and apostolic passion.
It offers the parishes formative itineraries that bring together the Word of God, the contents of the Catechism, the Teaching of the Church and life itself, trying to unite faith with the life of the laity.

How is it organised?

In CA lay people are organised in parish groups where they share their faith, review life and are urged and helped to be salt in the world. Through its different itineraries, chil- dren, youth and adults are trained to be witnesses of God’s love. All this is based on a methodology that requires lay people’s forma- tion and inner conversion and encourages them to engage themselves in transforming social reality. Parish spaces where:

With everyone and for everyone

Catholic Action, mature lay people with a pro- ject for parishes and the different areas of daily life, an association which wants “to be mis- sion” with other people and for other people.

Do you have any other question?

The full flyer with quotes from Pope Francis at the 2017 Congress HERE 

Catholic Action in the Magisterium

The Popes have always been very close to Catholic Action, before and after the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, encouraging the vocation and missionary formation of the laity: women and men, young people, children, adults, families, engaged in the world of school, work, culture, dialogue, …
Here you will find the speeches addressed directly to the FIAC on various occasions from 1987.

In this section the speeches of the Popes, after CEVII, addressed to Italian Catholic Action on the occasion of the National Assemblies and to other national CAs.



How to Start

How to start is a frequent question that requires different answers in relation to different contexts, taking into account the characteristics of Catholic Action. It is clear that AC starts in a local Church with its Bishop, some lay people, young people, families in a parish or at diocesan level with a priest charged by the Bishop. Often the first step is to meet the CA of another diocese or country. One of the services of the FIAC secretariat is to facilitate these contacts.

Here are some national AC proposals.





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