Aparecida 367-368: Communities Further the Mission

If we are to look at a renewal of the missionary impulse in the Church, we cannot overlook where we find ourselves today.

367. The Church’s ministry cannot ignore the historic context in which its members live. Its life takes place in very specific sociocultural contexts. These social and cultural transformations naturally represent new challenges to the Church in its mission of building the Kingdom of God. Hence the need, in fidelity to the Holy Spirit who leads it, for an ecclesial renewal that entails spiritual, pastoral, and also institutional reforms.

We are beset with much hand-wringing over the state of the Church–worries about fidelity, preservation, and holding on to what we have and avoiding the loss of more. Fidelity to the Holy Spirit, however, means we must discern. Bringing most everyone along means an atmosphere of trust, something we must continue to build.

According to Pope John Paul II, starting with bishops, pastors, and theologians:

368. Conversion of the shepherds also leads us to live and promote a spirituality of communion and participation.

making it the guiding principle of education wherever individuals and Christians are formed, wherever ministers of the altar, consecrated persons, and pastoral workers are trained, wherever families and communities are being built up.(Novo Millennio Inuente 43)

Furthering the mission is not about the charismatic ability of leaders or the expertise of gurus, but the main dynamic of parishes and other faith communities.

Pastoral conversion requires that ecclesial communities be communities of missionary disciples around Jesus Christ, Master and Shepherd. Thence arises the attitude of openness, dialogue, and willingness to promote the stewardship and real participation of all the faithful in the life of Christian communities. Today more than ever, the testimony of ecclesial communion and holiness are a pastoral priority. Pastoral planning must be inspired by the new commandment of love (cf. John 13:35).(Cf. Novo Millennio Inuente 20)

Are our communities up to the task?

Remember, you can reference an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, 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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