· What are Lay Salvatorians?
Lay Salvatorians are Christian men and women, married or single, following in the footsteps of the Savior with a call from God to live and announce God’s unconditional love, inspired by the universal Salvatorian spirituality.
The relationship to God is the center of our life - we are living in the permanent awareness of His presence.
One becomes a Lay Salvatorian by means of a personal commitment as a member of the International Community of the Divine Savior through a local unit.
Lay Salvatorians live the Salvatorian spirituality and experience it in a contemporary form, communicating it to everyone who is open and interested in it.
· What are the goals of Lay Salvatorians?
To bring God’s love to all we meet by living the gospel message; assist in meeting the basic needs of life. We aim to bring awareness and sensitivity towards those suffering in all forms of poverty, assist in the eradication of exploitation and discrimination.
For example, adult literacy programs, reaching out to homeless and refugees, creating awareness of the multi-facets of human trafficking, sending aid to underdeveloped regions, educate society about the exploitation of the environment through workshops and through internet communication.
· What is the mission, the tasks of the Lay Salvatorians?
Following the Salvatorians key verse: And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17,3) – Lay Salvatorians try to bring the love of God into their neighbourhood, in their work place and where ever they stay or live. They do that by all ways and means which God inspires. The ministries (apostolates) are as diverse as life is. Thereby not the big things are counted, much more the billions of little daily one’s are important.
· Who would a Lay Salvatorian invite to be a Lay Salvatorian?
People who are genuinely interested in the welfare of their fellow human beings and seek answers to the burning questions of life today; who want to make the world a better place.
· How is a Lay Salvatorians identified?
Due to our Salvatorian universality there are many ways to identify a Lay Salvatorian. Some of the common identities you would see are an open mind for a wide range of interest’s, the need for on-going formation and a response for the smaller and bigger needs of our time.
Becoming a Lay Salvatorian
· What do I need to do if I’m interested to become a Lay Salvatorian?
Contact a Lay Salvatorian you know or the coordinator of the unit where you live. The coordinator or responsible Salvatorian for vocations will tell you then the next steps.
· Is there a formation program for Lay Salvatorians?
Yes and it’s divided into different stages. The first phase is the “stage of interest”, then the “candidate stage” and finally following the commitment the “Lay Salvatorian stage”. All members of the Salvatorian Family are strongly encouraged to continue “in formation” growing closer to God always and using that growth to bring others to God.
· Is it always necessary to do the formation program?
Yes, it is always required. The Formation program is one of prayer, education, and discernment. If one has truly been called to a vocation as a Lay Salvatorian then the natural response would be to request commitment after the “stage of interest” and the “candidate stage”. These times are an opportunity for you to learn and understand the identity, mission and spirituality of the Lay Salvatorian as well as a time for the local community to learn and understand who you are and to assist you in your discernment.
If one chooses to take the next step and request to make your commitment, then the local community must discern. If their response is “yes” then you are invited to verbalize that commitment in a formal ceremony. Without that formal commitment you cannot be a member of the Lay Salvatorians.
· How long is this formation program?
The length of time for the formation processes depends on the knowledge of the candidate, how long he/she has known the Salvatorian Family. Each local community determines how often the “teaching group” meets and how well the process is running. Normally, the interested stage is one year and normally two years for the candidate stage; please remember each individual and local community are considered so the times may be shorter in certain circumstances. One thing is very clear though once a candidate a final decision must be made after the third year. A person cannot remain a candidate for life.
Commitment of Lay Salvatorians
· Is it necessary to make a commitment to become a Lay Salvatorian?
Yes, based on the current Statutes of the International Community of the Divine Savior a commitment is required. It is the solemn pledge in the presence of other Salvatorians to be a part of the Salvatorian Family as a member of the International Community of the Divine Savior. First and foremost, it is a YES to God, to follow his call through a vocation as a Lay Salvatorian.
· Why does a Lay Salvatorian make a commitment?
The commitment is an outward sign shown to the community and yourself that you are entering into a commitment of time, treasure and service within the community of your own accord. It is a way of stating that you are willing to serve the community and expect spiritual support from the community in return. You are verbally stating you agree with the Identity, Mission and Spirituality of a Lay Salvatorian. You are promising to conduct your life in such a way that is exemplary to your local, national and international society.
· To whom is the commitment of a Lay Salvatorian given?
First it is a commitment between the individual and God, then between the individual and the International Community of the Divine Savior (ICDS) in the presence of local members of the Salvatorian Family. The commitment comes only after a period of initial formation has taken place and a written request to the national organization has been submitted. The commitment is spoken to the local leadership of the ICDS unit. In case there is no local leadership in the unit, a person representing the ICDS will be sent.
· What does a Lay Salvatorian promise in the commitment?
Lay Salvatorians make a solemn pledge to live their life according the Identity, Mission and Spirituality found in the International Community of the Divine Savior (ICDS) Statutes and Operating Guidelines and to support and promote the ICDS community and Salvatorian Family.
The Vocation of a Lay Salvatorian
· What is the vocation of a Lay Salvatorian?
First, Lay Salvatorians are called to recognize and promote their talents and skills and discover the love of God in their own life. Then they use their talents to serve others by all ways and means which the love of Christ inspires, living out the Salvatorian spirituality in their environment, transforming it to meet the needs of present time.
· Do Lay Salvatorians have a unique vocation?
Yes – they have. An individual is called into a vocation to become and to be a Lay Salvatorian, because you are a Lay Salvatorian 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. They are called to live their vocation and mission everywhere; at home, at work, within their local environment, everywhere they go, bringing the goodness and kindness of the Savior to all they encounter along the way.
· How will this vocation be expressed through the members?
In the manner by which they interact with other persons, their environment and all of God’s creation, it should be an outcome of their daily actions and lifestyle. Vocation is a way of life, an exciting adventure, an exceptional challenge to deepen our relationship with God.
Living as a Lay Salvatorian
· Can a Lay Salvatorian be married?
Lay Salvatorians can be married or single. If both people in a marriage are not joining the Lay Salvatorians it is important the other partner accept the decision. Membership in the Lay Salvatorians should never cause a division in a marriage.
· Does a Lay Salvatorian live in community?
Yes, Lay Salvatorians are living in community but, the members normally do not live under the same roof. This is a difference from the two other Salvatorian branches. This kind of community often needs more attention, because it’s not possible to see or meet the others face to face every day. Therefore priority must be given by the individual and the community to insure time is set aside to gather, to pray, to serve and to support one another.
· Do Lay Salvatorians live in a monastery or in common houses?
No – Lay Salvatorians stay in their own houses and/or apartments. They live their daily life within their homes and through their chosen profession (i.e. teacher, nurse, lawyer, storekeeper, driver and so on). In some areas of the world there are Lay Salvatorians who live with other Salvatorians in community when they are collaborating in a ministry together but, this is rare.
· Lay Salvatorians sound so liberal,
do your consider yourself as a part of the Church?
Yes of course we do. Within the Catholic Church there is a vast range of views and there is room for all. Through our Salvatorian charism we are encouraged to study current times and explore new ways to bring the love of God to all people everywhere. This is supported by the call to live out our Salvatorian universality in both a spiritual and physical way. We strongly believe in the “catholic church” as the universal church as it is described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
· Do Lay Salvatorians have a life of prayer?
The founder of the Salvatorians, Fr. Francis Jordan, was a man of prayer. To pray is an intense communication with God. Therefore it’s necessary for Lay Salvatorians to cultivate their life of prayer. To pray is a part of the daily routine. As Lay Salvatorian it’s not implicitly necessary to go to a church or a chapel to pray. Prayer has meaningful influence in the daily life of a Lay Salvatorian. There are always possibilities and minutes where you can come into a prayer. Each one has to look for a possibility and is encouraged to be creative in ways they live out this part of their commitment.
· Do Lay Salvatorians follow the evangelical counsels,
how do they do that?
Lay Salvatorians are laity with a vocation to a Salvatorian life who tries to transfer and adapt the evangelical counsels into their daily life. They are not bound by them as the religious are through their vows however, this is part of the formation process; thinking about how we as lay people living in the world can apply these evangelical counsels to our lives and lead others to Christ through our living them out.
Lay Salvatorians try to live out poverty by living a simple lifestyle which includes a respect for all people’s dignity and we are prepared to serve everyone without distinction. By listening to others and having sensitivity to God’s daily call we try live out obedience. Having respect for God’s plan in our lives, we live out our state in life, married or single, by responding YES with body and soul to that plan for ourselves, our families and all forms of life.
· What is Salvatorian universality - how can I imagine that?
The Salvatorian universality offers the possibility to respond on the needs of our times by all ways and means which God’s love inspires in us. This gives Salvatorians the liberty to choose their ministry (apostolate). The ministry (apostolate) which is important at the moment or to this time will get priority. So Salvatorians can change their ministry (apostolate) - always depending and discerning about what is important for the society where they live today.
The Salvatorian Family
· What is the Salvatorian Family?
They are followers of Father Francis Jordan and Blessed Mother Mary of the Apostles; there are three branches in the Salvatorian Family: Priests and Brothers, Sisters and Lay Salvatorians.
· Are there different degrees of belonging to the Salvatorian Family?
Yes, there are different ways to connect or belong to the Salvatorian Family:
1. Priests, Brothers and Sisters, who make a religious vow and Lay Salvatorians who make a personal commitment make up the Salvatorian Family.
2. Salvatorian collaborators, people who are working for or with Salvatorian Sisters, Brothers or Priests in parishes, schools, hospitals, etc. There are, in some places around the world, groups of people who support the religious through prayer but, do not make a commitment as a member of the three branches.
3. Salvatorian sympathizers and friends, people who are connected to a member of the inner Salvatorian Family by friendship or family ties.
· Do Lay Salvatorians meet with members of the two other branches of the Salvatorian Family?
Of course, because we are one spiritual family and the spirituality and charism exchanged between the three branches is very important to all of us. Only in this way does the real Salvatorian charism and spirituality live and become present.
Lay Salvatorians unite with the other two branches of the Salvatorian Family in several areas of aid, organization and tasks. It is common that a Lay Salvatorian group invite a member or members of the other branches to join their regular gatherings.
· Can I ask a Salvatorian Priest/Brother/Sister I know about the Lay Salvatorians?
Yes you can. All members of the Salvatorian Family should be able to answer your initial questions and direct you to the correct contact person within the Lay Salvatorians.
· Does there need to be a vowed religious member of the Salvatorians as leader of a Lay Salvatorian community or group?
Normally, a Lay Salvatorian will lead a community or group as long as there are appropriate experienced Lay Salvatorians available. Lay Salvatorians are the third branch of the Salvatorian Family but they are autonomous in administration and financial issues. There is a common Salvatorian charism and spirituality however due to our different life style there is also a specific Lay Salvatorian way of living. Certainly there could be a vowed religious member who initiates a group but, it is not a requirement of any group.
· Are Lay Salvatorians independent and/or do they act under their own authority?
Lay Salvatorians are responsible to his/her own Lay Salvatorian local community or unit and act autonomously within the Salvatorian Family. As such these regulations are found in the statutes of the International Community of the Divine Savior - Lay Salvatorians.
· When I make my commitment am I a member of the Society or the Congregation?
Neither, you are a member of the International Community of the Divine Savior – Lay Salvatorians, the third branch of the Salvatorian Family. To become a member of the Society you must be a male and make religious vows as a Priest or a Brother. To be a member of the Congregation you must be a female and make religious vows as Sister.
Lay Salvatorians in a parish
· What is the difference between a Lay Salvatorian and any other person in a parish?
Lay Salvatorians have a special vocation, which inspires them to deepen their Christian commitment and live it out in a more conscious and serious manner.
Rooted in the Salvatorian charism and spirituality Lay Salvatorians try to bring the love of God to their surroundings by all ways and means.
In the course of this Lay Salvatorians are guided by the words: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence … (1 Pete 3,15)
· Are the members of a parish group in a Salvatorian parish Lay Salvatorians?
No, parish groups are generally formed with a certain purpose to serve the needs of that parish and that does not require a Lay Salvatorian. One must be called to a vocation as a Lay Salvatorian, living out the spirituality and charism in their daily life. Of course Lay Salvatorians can participate in parish groups however, these groups are not part of the Salvatorian community.
In reality, there are some groups of people who have been labelled as Lay Salvatorians who are connected to the Society and/or Congregation but, without an adequate understanding and formation of the Lay Salvatorian vocation.
· Can Lay Salvatorians take over ministries or duties in a parish?
If there is a need in the parish and with the permission of the pastor and parish government they can. This activity is just one way a Lay Salvatorian can serve in their vocation; it is simply a way in which this Lay Salvatorian is serving God’s people.
Contacting Lay Salvatorians
· Where I can find Lay Salvatorians around the world, where on the Internet?
In the menue above at "Where we are" you will find an interactive map and also links to other interesting Lay Salvatorian activities, and web pages of some Lay Salvatorians from around the world.
 The international and the national statutes and operating guidelines