To the congregation responsible for missionary activity it falls “to direct and coordinate throughout the world the work of evangelizing peoples and of missionary cooperation, with due regard for the competence of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.”(Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus (1988) 85; cf. Ad Gentes, 29)Hence, its task is to “recruit missionaries and distribute them in accordance with the more urgent needs of various regions…draw up an ordered plan of action, issue norms and directives, as well as principles which are appropriate for the work of evangelization, and assist in the initial stages of their work.” (Ad Gentes, 29: Cf. Pastor Bonus 86)
The other document cited here is Pope John Paul II’s 1988 “reform” of the Curia. You may know that Pope Francis has instituted his own update of this, as is a pope’s prerogative.
I can only confirm these wise directives. In order to re-launch the mission ad gentes, a center of outreach, direction and coordination is needed, namely, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. I invite the Episcopal Conferences and their various bodies, the major superiors of orders, congregations and institutes, as well as lay organizations involved in missionary activity, to cooperate faithfully with this Dicastery, which has the authority necessary to plan and direct missionary activity and cooperation worldwide.
A worldwide coordination is definitely needed. Too often the Church works in isolated silos, each diocese, region, cleric, ministry, parish, or individual working for themselves. It dilutes our effectiveness as a Body.
The curial body responsible for evangelization dates back to 1622.
The same congregation, which has behind it a long and illustrious history, is called to play a role of primary importance with regard to reflection and programs of action which the Church needs in order to be more decisively oriented toward the mission in its various forms. To this end, the congregation should maintain close relations with the other Dicasteries of the Holy See, with the local churches and the various missionary forces. In an ecclesiology of communion in which the entire Church is missionary, but in which specific vocations and institutions for missionary work ad gentes remains indispensable, the guiding and coordinating role of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples remains very important in order to ensure a united effort in confronting great questions of common concern, with due regard for the competence proper to each authority and structure.
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