Redemptoris Missio 62: Young Churches And Their Own Missionaries

What was done at the beginning of Christianity to further its universal mission remains valid and urgent today. The Church is missionary by her very nature, for Christ’s mandate is not something contingent or external, but reaches the very heart of the Church. It follows that the universal Church and each individual church is sent forth to the nations. Precisely “so that this missionary zeal may flourish among the people of their own country,” it is highly appropriate that young churches should “share as soon as possible in the universal missionary work of the Church. They should themselves send missionaries to proclaim the Gospel all over the world, even though they are suffering from a shortage of clergy.”(Ad Gentes 20) Many are already doing so, and I strongly encourage them to continue.

This isn’t an entirely uncontroversial point. I’ve known many fine people from other continents in parishes, schools, and other settings. But it’s not like the circles I inhabit are real mission territory. I can see the value of temporary exchanges of personnel. Perhaps the shipment of promising students abroad, but the eventual goal would be fine institutes of learning in mission lands.

In this essential bond between the universal Church and the particular churches the authentic and full missionary nature of the Church finds practical expression: “In a world where the lessening of distance makes the world increasingly smaller, the Church’s communities ought to be connected with each other, exchange vital energies and resources, and commit themselves as a group to the one and common mission of proclaiming and living the Gospel…. So-called younger churches have need of the strength of the older churches and the older ones need the witness and the impulse of the younger, so that each church can draw on the riches of the other churches.” (Christifideles Laici 35)

This document is available online here and is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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