Aparecida 309-310: Small Ecclesial Communities, Part 2

Base communities are essential, but there is also a need for connections. The bishops describe a “full communion” with parishes and the diocese. That seems fair and wise.

309. If lively dynamic small communities are desired, a solid spirituality must be fostered in them, one based on the Word of God, to keep them in full communion of life and ideals with the local church, and in particular with the parish community. The parish will thereby come to be a “community of communities,”(Cf. SD 58) as we have proposed in Latin America for some years now. We point out that the processes for forming small communities must be reinvigorated in our continent, for in them we have a sure source of vocations to the priesthood, the religious life, possible to reach the distant, the indifferent, and those who fuel discontent or resentments against the Church.

The earnest desire for more vocations is fine, but the only sure source of vocations to church leadership and to religious life is the cultivation of baptized persons as disciples who continue to discern for that relationship with Jesus in their lives. If clergy and religious are present, especially in the discernment process of young adults, this will be key. A witness that is humble, self-sacrificing, and noble will attract others who desire that kind of life.

310. We point out that the processes for forming small communities must be reinvigorated in our continent, for in them we have a sure source of vocations to the priesthood, the religious life, and lay life with special dedication to the apostolate. Small communities would also make it possible to reach the distant, the indifferent, and those who fuel discontent or resentments against the Church.

If that “lay life with special dedication” means committed and practicing discipleship, then this paragraph can be affirmed. But let’s be clear: small communities in whatever form do not exist solely for the staffing of church professionals as it has been in the past.

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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