The laity is all who have been baptised and who have not been ordained a deacon, priest or bishop. Through baptism, the laity share in the mission of Jesus and the Church, of proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Sister and brother members of religious communities are laity or lay people.
The baptized people or members of a church, as distinct from the clergy. The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ's work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.
In religious organizations, the laity comprises all lay persons collectively. This can mean either any person who is not a member of the ordained clergyhttp://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08748a.htm Laity at the Catholic Encyclopedia or of any monastic order or, within such an order, a monastic who is not a priest (c.f., lay brother). Conversely, terms such as lay priest, lay clergy and lay nun were once used in both Christian and Buddhist cultures to indicate ordained persons who continued to live out in the wider community instead of retiring to a monastery.