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Time was when the participation of the laity in the salvific mission of the Church was minimal and limited only to a few religious organizations of brotherhoods. The most significant roles given to a few were to assist the priests at Mass as servers and acolytes, and later as catechists to assist priests and religious in religion classes.

In 1950 the Philippine Hierarchy established the Catholic Action of the Philippines (CAP), with a bishop appointed by the Holy Father as its National Director. The main objective of the CAP was to uplift lay participation through enhanced communication and improved rapport between clergy and laity.

The CAP was expected to coordinate the different lay activities in the country under the supervision of the Episcopal Commission on Lay Apostolate (ECLA), as the Commission was originally called, under the jurisdiction of the CBCP.

By the sixties and the seventies the CAP, supported by Vatican II documents, moved that all parishes have a council or board of lay people to assist priests in the affairs of the parishes.

In 1973, after a survey of the effectivity of the CAP, it was decided mutually by the ECLA and the National Board of the CAP that the entire lay apostolate be restructed according to the PRIESTLY, PROPHETIC AND PRINCELY functions of Christ. The lay apostolates were then categorized into: 1) the Apostolate of Liturgy and Worship; 2) the Apostolate of Education and Formation; and 3) the Apostolate of Service and Welfare.

The CAP was renamed the National Council of the Laity of the Philippines, ultimately becoming simply Council of the Laity of the Philippines (CLP). Regional seminars were held in 1976 to orient priests and laity of the new structure of the lay apostolate.

The year 1980 marked the initial campaign of the CLP for the formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities in all parishes. In 1991 the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines highlighted the involvement of the laity in policy making. Utilizing the PCP II mandate for renewed evangelization as guideline, the CLP has undertaken a two-pronged thrust: the building of the Church of the Poor, and the restoration of the Church of the Home.

The CLP today is made up of diocesan councils of the laity, national Church organizations, national movements and Church-oriented groups. It has an Executive Board, an Administrative Council, with officers and members elected at a national convention held every two years.

The Council of the Laity of the Philippines is under the supervision and guidance of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity through a National Director who is a member of the CBCP and is Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity. It accomplishes its apostolate through four permanent standing committees: WORSHIP, EDUCATION, SERVICE AND TEMPORALITIES, each committee tasked with specific duties that redound to a higher degree of involvement of the laity in the activities of the Catholic Church in the Philippines.


Bp. Gabriel V. Reyes

Vice Chairman:

Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo


Bp. Jesse E. Mercado


Bp. Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD

Executive Secretary:

Dr. Jose Villanueva


Headquarters, CLP Bldg.


372 Cabildo Street


Intramuros, 1002 Manila

Tel.:  527-5426/527-5388
Fax:  527-3124


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