Paragraphs 216 through 224 look to “Consecrated men and women, missionary disciples of Jesus, the Father’s Witness.” We begin with a good influence from Pope John Paul II and his 1996 document on religious life:
216. Consecrated life is a gift of the Father through the Spirit to his Church,(Vita Consecrata 1) and constitutes a decisive element for its mission.(Ibid. 3) It is expressed in the monastic, active, and contemplative life, secular institutes, as well as by societies of apostolic life and other new forms. It is a path of following Christ in a special way, to devote oneself to him with an undivided heart, and like Him to be placed at the service of God and humankind, assuming the form of life that Christ chose in coming into this world: a celibate, poor, and obedient life.(Ibid. 14. 16. 18)
There is a lot of misunderstanding about vowed religious, especially from some Catholic traditionalists. Devoting oneself to God in the spirit of a founder can take many forms: in or out of a cloister, with designated ministries in the world or a life of contemplation, communal or eremitic or in association with others outside one’s chosen tradition. It might include lay persons who associate in varying degrees with a certain style of committed life. All of these involve placing oneself under the leadership of a particular founder with a particular set of charisms.
What does this have to do with evangelization and mission? We’ll explore that in this paragraph and in the posts to come.
217. In communion with their shepherds, consecrated men and women are called to make the places where they are present, their fraternal life in communion and their works, spaces where the Gospel is explicitly proclaimed, primarily to the very poor, as they have done in our continent since the beginning of evangelization. Thus, in keeping with their founding charisms, they collaborate in bringing into being a new generation of disciple and missionary Christians and a society where the justice and dignity of the human person is respected.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.