19 novembre 2018

"A CULTURE OF ENCOUNTER: Mission at the Heart of our Faith in Christ"

Sr. Elizabeth Villanueva, dall'Ispettoria "Maria Immacolta" (SUO - Stati Uniti) condivide con noi alcuni appunti sulla Conferenza "A CULTURE OF ENCOUNTER: Mission at the Heart of our Faith in Christ", di cui lei ha partecipato nel mese di ottobre u.s.

In Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father exhorts all Catholics to live with a missionary zeal and not to leave the work of evangelization to a handful of Religious. To that end, the United States Catholic Mission Association (USCMA) strives to convene, connect, and collaborate with missionary orders, groups, and parish-based mission-minded faithful to promote mission and global solidarity. This year’s annual conference was a very good opportunity for people of faith to come together to share their experience of living missionary discipleship.

The theme was A CULTURE OF ENCOUNTER: Mission at the Heart of our Faith in Christ. The 2018 Mission Conference took place in Boston, Massachusetts from October 25 to 27.
There was a keynote for each day: Encountering Christ in Others, From Encounter to Banquet, and A Culture of Encounter.

There were five choices for breakout sessions (we had to choose two). I chose An Introduction to Mission; Rev. Roger Schroeder, SVD, gave a very good summary of his book “What is the Mission of the Church” (new edition). It was enlightening and inspiring too.
The other topic I chose is Forming Intentional Disciples through Mission Animation. This session explored the dynamic between animation, education, and the formation of intentional disciples.

Encounter through Conversation
The last groupings were intentional moments of shared reflection on the theme of the Conference. They were spaces where we can encounter in one another divine wisdom and grace. For this last group I joined the table conversation on Mission Identity and the Baptismal Call.
It makes for a truly enriching conversation with such guide questions as:
* Why is this topic a priority for you?
* What does it mean to be baptized?
* What are we really called to?

How mission has changed – from “Ransoming Pagan Babies” to Mission on Every Continent and in Every Parish

New Understanding of Mission
Pope John Paul II: Mission is “a single but complex reality, and it develops in various ways.” On the Permanent Validity of the Church’s Missionary Mandate (RM41).
One-line working definition: Mission is proclaiming, serving, and witnessing to God’s reign of love, salvation, and justice.
(What is the Mission of the Church – Schroeder Revised Edition 2018)

Jesus and the Reign of God
Jesus came to preach, serve and witness to the Reign of God: words, action and behavior.

Mission is based on a commitment to doing what Jesus did.
Proclaiming Christ (with and/or without words) is mission’s “permanent priority”.
Mission focuses especially on the transformation of the world – not just about building up church.
Not just about saving individuals, but salvation is a just society; integral development.

To Live Table Fellowship

Pope John Paul II: “There is a new awareness that missionary activity is a matter for all Christians, for all dioceses and parishes” (RM 2); Church as “community in mission”.

Pope Francis: “In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt. 28:19). All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization [mission] and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelization to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients”.
Pope Francis, Joy of the Gospel, 120

“Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, on a journey”.
Joy of the Gospel, 127

Mission is not just about “missionary heroes”
Mission is not just twice a year.
Mission is who we are and what we all do as Church and Christians!
St. Catherine of Siena: Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!

First: Read the signs of the times
* Now -- Migration and the movement of peoples
Isaiah 54:2 "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes."
Second: Begin in your own backyard and develop Solidarity Based Partnerships
* Ministering to Migrant Farm Workers and their families
* It is amazing what initiatives people come up with – A parish priest and some women parishioners organized a pilgrimage (Camino de Santiago, Spain) for rehabilitation and re-entry of some tattooed young prisoners. They were accompanied by a couple of prison guards. Daily Mass was celebrated and they did daily journaling of reflections and experiences. People seeing them take a happy group picture did not know what a unique “gathering” this was!
Third: Live the hospitality we ourselves have experienced.
Fourth: Honor Popular Piety spirituality and take part in its expressions.
Catholic devotions are "... expressions of love and fidelity that arise from the intersection of one's own faith, culture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy devotes separate chapters to consideration of practices associated with the liturgical year, devotion to the Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy…, veneration of the Mother of God, veneration of the other saints and the beatified, praying for the dead, and shrines and pilgrimages.

Under the heading "The language of popular piety", it speaks of gestures, texts and formulae, song and music, sacred music, sacred places and sacred times.
Common examples include adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the use of a Home Altar, rosary, stations of the cross, novenas, various scapulars, pilgrimages, veneration of saintly images, etc.

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