Redemptoris Missio 67a: Diocesan Priests

Two numbered sections look at the theme, Diocesan Priests for the Universal Mission. One challenge I see with this is over the question of discipleship. If priests are only believers, not yet disciples, how can they be effective?

As co-workers of the bishops, priests are called by virtue of the sacrament of Orders to share in concern for the Church’s mission: “The spiritual gift that priests have received in ordination prepares them, not for any narrow and limited mission, but for the most universal and all embracing mission of salvation ‘to the end of the earth.’ For every priestly ministry shares in the universal scope of the mission that Christ entrusted to his apostles.” (Presbyterorum Ordinis 10; cf. Ad Gentes 39)

Vatican II began the movement toward discipleship. It wasn’t fully realized in 1965. We aren’t fully awake yet. We don’t always look at the buy-in for the mission in every case:

For this reason, the formation of candidates to the priesthood must aim at giving them “the true Catholic spirit whereby they will learn to transcend the bounds of their own diocese, country or rite, and come to the aid of the whole Church, in readiness to preach the Gospel anywhere.” (Optatam Totius 20: cf. “Guide de la vie pastorale pour les pretres diocesains des Eglises qui dependent de la Congregation pour l’Evangélisation des Peuples,” Rome, 1989)

Checking to see if seminarians have this “spirit,” well, there are a lot on the wish list these days.

All priests must have the mind and the heart of missionaries – open to the needs of the Church and the world, with concern for those farthest away, and especially for the non-Christian groups in their own area. They should have at heart, in their prayers and particularly at the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the concern of the whole Church for all of humanity.

Any priests out there with some thoughts on this?

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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