VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni to the Missionary Congress: "Church of Colombia, share your faith, be a missionary Church which goes forth!"

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Bucaramanga (Agenzia Fides) - "Conscience and missionary responsibility of the particular Churches": is the theme of Cardinal Fernando Filoni’s report, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, held on May 27 at the National Missionary Congress of Colombia, and inaugurated the evening before. The event was held in Bucaramanga on the theme "We are the Colombian Church, missionary and which goes forth" (see Fides 16/5/2016; 19/5/2016).

The Prefect of the Congregation was inspired by the Gospel passage of the first multiplication of the loaves (Mk 6,30-34), which is based on "the missionary character of the apostolic community", for some reflections: the centrality of the person and mission of Jesus; the mission of the Apostles is submitted to the judgment of the Lord and to the knowledge of the other friends, so that preaching and action is not carried out in vain; without an authentic spirituality, there is no authentic mission, but only one activism without a future; people were attracted by the preaching and by the Master, who was different from all the other masters; the multitude who sought Jesus "was like sheep without a shepherd".

"From the outset of his pontificate, Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope, spoke about the mission and even heroic witness, which sometimes reaches martyrdom - said Cardinal Filoni -. A missionary Church which goes forth in which every Christian and every community are called to step out of their comfort and have the courage to reach all the suburbs that need the light of the Gospel". A Church therefore whose mission is to proclaim God's mercy; a Church at the service of the existential suburbs, the poor and society; a Church that knows how to be compassionate, tender and fraternal.

The Colombian Church, especially in recent years, has always shown a particular missionary commitment, both ad intra and ad extra, stressed the Cardinal, "This Missionary Congress, therefore, wants to be on the trail of the vision and pastoral mission outlined by Pope Francis, who often pushes us to the missionary conscience and to the responsibility of the particular Churches". "The mission ad gentes ad intra, in Colombia, is always necessary, so that the people of God can constantly renew themselves in fidelity to the apostolic faith and openness to the Spirit. In addition it also makes us responsible with regards to the mission ad extra, understood as the obligation that all the particular Churches have concerning the announcement of the Gospel in places where this needs to be re-announced, where it arrived recently or where it has not yet been consolidated".

The Prefect of the Congregation widely reflected on the missionary awareness of the particular Churches and their missionary responsibility, highlighting among others the challenges of the transformation of society and the world today; the need to acquire an authentic missionary awareness that does not make us close up in our need; the importance of acquiring one’s missionary tools: evangelical poverty, non-violence, willingness to give one’s life in the name of Christ and for the love of men.

Finally Cardinal Filoni, after expressing his appreciation for the care of the Colombian Bishops for missionary churches in the Country, wondered if Colombia does not have a "special mission", and concluded: "The Church in this Country can give and do more, because even here, where there are many forms of poverty, and hope still has a role and a force, no one is so poor to the point of not being able to at least share one’s faith! Courage, Colombia! You can give and do more, this is why I ask the missionary disciples of Jesus, who are many, to make themselves known. Courage, Church of Colombia, 'share your faith' and be a missionary 'go forth' Church". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 28/05/2016)