Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "It has been a busy year of work": this is what His Exc. Mgr. Protase Rugambwa, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) said in his report at the opening of the General annual Assembly of the PMS (see Fides 29/04/2014). "From the information that I and the General Secretaries have had thanks to the annual Reports you sent us – continued the Archbishop - we can certainly say that the PMS are one of the most important and relevant instruments in order to hold high the priority of the Missio ad Gentes in your Churches. Magazine publications, conferences for youth, adults, adolescents, formation courses for the clergy and laity, missionary days, fundraising, visits to seminars, to religious congregations, and many other activities have been carried out".
The Archbishop made extensive reference to Pope Francis’ missionary ministry, who "desires a Church that is not closed in on itself, but an outgoing missionary Church. A Church that chooses the poor, that goes around the world, especially to the geographical and anthropological suburbs. And goes around saying that we have to be joyful evangelizers, happy, giving the joy of the Gospel to everyone. It is a great encouragement for us to continue the work of missionary cooperation to which we have been appointed".
After mentioning the activities carried out by the Executive Committee and the Commission for Finance, in addition to the issues covered in the special Assembly in November, the President of the PMS focused on the situation we are experiencing. "We are in a period of profound change, not only in the Church but also civil – he highlighted - . I am not exaggerating in saying that today it is difficult even to work and help the poor and those who are called waste of humanity. Perhaps because of some abuses or scandals, the laws of various States are, in fact, making financial assistance to churches difficult, putting very strict regulations on the export of capital".
In this regard, Mgr. Rugambwa drew the attention on some practical aspects. First of all, the need for "a sincere and effective communion among national Offices and international secretariats", because "continuous and sincere dialogue, efficient communication, mutual help, respect and esteem are needed, that come from the fact that we all work not for ourselves, but for the Kingdom of God. If we can make this great organization, which are the Pontifical Societies, a family, then they will regain its former glory and renewed vitality". Another issue highlighted is the communication and the transparency of the financial-economic factor: the current level of clarity and transparency achieved at a central level, will now have to be fulfilled at the national Directorates level.
Finally, the Archbishop reiterated that the National Directors must be a "bridge between the Congregation and the Headquarters of the PMS and the Episcopal Conferences, and in particular the Commissions for Missions or for the Evangelization". "It is important to remember, especially in these times, in which the local Churches have rightly assumed the role of protagonists in the Missio ad Gentes - he said - that the Bishops, who with the Supreme Pastor - the Pope, have the responsibility of the Missio ad Gentes, and that the Pontifical Societies do not exist to help this or that mission chosen by the dioceses, or by an Episcopal Conference, but the missions of the whole Church and the Churches that need it most". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 06/05/2014)