Aparecida 373-374: Mission To The Nations

Looking at the theme Our Commitment to Mission Ad Gentes:

373. We are conscious and grateful that the Father so loved the world that he sent his Son to save it (cf. Jn 3:17), and so we want to be continuers of his mission, because it is the reason for the Church’s existence and defines its deepest identity.

The Latin phrase “ad gentes” is interpreted as to the peoples of the world. It’s the title of the Vatican III document on mission activity, surveyed here over a decade ago.

How far can we go? Saint Matthew quotes the Lord who has a commission great indeed, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” (28:19a) Saint Mark cites a more expansive mission from the Lord, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (16:15) Matthew is more often adopted, except for the Francis-minded among us.

Four chief signs of the Holy Spirit are identified:

374. As missionary disciples, we want the influence of Christ to reach the ends of the earth. We discover the presence of the Holy Spirit in mission lands through signs:

a) The presence of the values of the Kingdom of God in cultures, recreating them from within to transform situations inimical to the gospel.

b) The efforts of men and women who find in their religious beliefs the energy for their commitment to engage with the world of their time.

c) The birth of the ecclesial community.

d) The testimony of persons and communities that proclaim Jesus Christ through the holiness of their lives.


I can’t help but note than the Tridentine Church was somewhat overshadowed by the Apostolic tradition. Five hundred years after the Gospel was brought across the Mediterranean, we had oodles of martyrs, saints, doctors, monastics, and such. Why does the Western Hemisphere lag so behind those great ages of the past? I suspect that maybe we don’t lag so much, as the church has been imbalanced toward Europe. The Spirit has been in the New World. Sometimes the Old has a hard time seeing it.

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

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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