THE CHURCH MUST NOT RENOUNCE HER MISSIONARY ROLE
Pope Benedict XVI received the participants in the General Assembly of the Pontifical Missionary Works (PMW), which reports to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. Many of the participants are the PMW Directors in their country of origin.
Fr Patrick N McGuire SMA, Provincial Superior of the SMA British Province, is also the PMW National Director for Scotland.
The report from FIDES states:
The Pope highlighted in his address that “the Church must constantly renew her commitment to bringing Christ to the people, to continue her messianic mission for the coming of the Kingdom of God … It is therefore necessary to continue the work of evangelisation with renewed enthusiasm … to lead humankind to the true freedom of the sons of God, against all forms of slavery. It is necessary to cast the net of the Gospel into the waters of history to lead mankind toward the land of God”.
“But in order that there be a decisive commitment to evangelisation, it is necessary that all Christians and communities truly believe that the ‘Word of God is the saving truth needed by all men in all times’. If this conviction of faith is not deeply rooted in our life, we are not able to feel the passion and the beauty of announcing it”.
After highlighting that “everyone must be involved in this ‘missio ad gentes’: bishops, priests, religious and laity”, Benedict XVI remarked that “it is necessary, therefore, to devote special attention to ensuring that all sectors of pastoral care, of the catechesis, of charity, are characterised by a missionary element: the Church is a mission”.
“A fundamental condition for announcing the faith is to allow oneself to be completely encompassed by Christ, Word of God incarnate”, he continued, “as only by being deeply rooted in Christ and his Word may one be able to resist the temptation to reduce evangelisation to a merely human, social project, neglecting the transcendental dimension of the salvation offered by God in Christ. It is a Word that must be testified to and proclaimed explicitly, as without coherent testimony it is less comprehensible and credible”.
The Pope stressed that “the ministry of evangelisation is fascinating and demanding: it requires love for proclamation and bearing testimony, a love so complete that it may lead even to martyrdom. The Church must not forsake its mission to reveal the light of Christ, to proclaim the good news of the Gospel, even if this may lead to persecution. It is a part of her very life itself, as it was for Jesus. Christians must not be afraid, even if they are ‘the religious group which suffers most from persecution on account of its faith'”.
The Holy Father concluded by expressing his gratitude for “the work in missionary promotion and formation” of the Pontifical Missionary Works, which he described as “a privileged tool for missionary co-operation and for the effective sharing of personnel and financial resources between Churches”.
AC/VIS 20110516 (470)