EUROPE/POLAND - Cardinal Filoni: "Today the Church in Poland needs to continue on the missionary path"

Friday, 12 June 2015

Warsaw (Agenzia Fides) - "The Church in Poland today needs to continue on the missionary path, just like Holy Pope John Paul II, who with his 'Redemptoris Missio' gave renewed impetus to the whole Church. And his word and his enthusiasm are still valid today. The Missio 'ad Gentes' is still valid: more than five billion people are waiting for the Gospel. Courage, do not be hesitant!". With this exhortation the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, concluded this morning his report at the Conference organized at the Card. Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, for the IV National Missionary Congress, held from June 12 to 14.
In his speech dedicated to the theme "The Mission’s topicality", the Cardinal stressed first of all that "mission comes from God, it is for all mankind and involves the whole Church which is missionary by nature" and that "we must not lose sight of these premises".
Then he outlined four themes: The Missionary definition of the Church. The globally missionary awareness. The development of the missionary nature and the missionary Societies. Missionary cooperation. "Mission concerns the 'being' of the Church and therefore being a Christian is not just to 'do' mission, but, much more deeply means 'being' missionary - the Cardinal said -. It is a question of 'to be or not to be': if 'nature', is lacking, I am not a missionary, therefore I am not a Christian".
Since "the Missionary definition of the Church has been taken in all the official documents of the magisterium" recalled Cardinal Filoni, "one can wonder if from this definition a new global missionary awareness in the people of God has emerged, if indeed God's people today are missionary people. The answer needs to be contextualized in the various ecclesial realities. There is no doubt that the missionary nature has engrossed the pastoral reflection of numerous Episcopal Conferences, with different results". Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium "insists on the enthusiasm for the mission, on the enthusiasm in announcing Christ: «Do not allow others to steal the missionary enthusiasm!». Although the path for the establishment of missionary awareness is still long, in his speech Cardinal Filoni emphasized "many positive movements in different contexts", tracing almost "a missionary panorama" of the continents.
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples then focused on the development of the missionary nature. "In the path of the development of the missionary nature we find, first of all, the missionary Societies, related in different ways to the universal Church, local churches and parishes as a means of growth of the People of God.
Starting from the people who give their lives we can understand the contribution of these Societies in evangelization, in proclaiming the Gospel, in Christian witness, in the exercise of charity, education, health, and so on. In their many areas of activity, the Societies have moved by their missionary aims, by the evangelical reasons that support them".
Clearing the field from what he called "equivocal readings of cooperation, in which one always talks about the subject that cooperates by giving, as if the the donor was the only protagonist", Cardinal Filoni stated in this regard: "A correct reading of cooperation in missionary spirit shows that all give and all receive".
A special note was dedicated to the missionary awareness of the laity: "Starting from an initial consideration of the laity seen 'as almost a substitute' of the missionary nature of priests and religious - the Cardinal said -, one has reached the consideration of a true missionary mandate of the laity, who not only as witnesses participate in the Gospel message. It is an area of great development, in tune with Pope Francis’ way of thinking". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 12/06/2015)