Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "The first evangelizer is Christ himself". Jesus "does not abandon the missionary nature of the Church", but "remains present" in the apostolic work accomplished by his disciples, which is not "a thing for priests" but represents a shared vocation by all the baptized. This is what Cardinal Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (CEP), repeated in his speech at the presentation of World Mission Day, which will be celebrated in all parishes in the world on Sunday 22 October. The Conference also saw the participation of Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, Deputy Secretary of CEP and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies and Father Ted Nowak OMI, Secretary General of the Pontifical Mission Mission of the Propagation of the Faith (POPF).
Cardinal Filoni, in his speech, traced the key points of Pope Francis’ Message World Mission Day 2017, dedicated to the theme "The mission at the heart of the Christian faith". The Prefect reprosed the mission as an intrinsic dimension of the Christian faith, founded on Christ’s last commandment entrusted to his disciples, to go around the world to baptize and proclaim the Gospel to all peoples. Referring to the Pope's Letter, Cardinal Filoni also emphasized that the aptitude of "going forth" is a vital dimension for anyone who is called to respond to Christ's missionary mandate, but must be based on "a spirituality of the exodus and of the pilgrimage which reconnects everything to Christ", if one does not want to run the risk of reducing the same missionary work to an activism of sociological nature.
Archbishop Rugambwa and Father Nowak, in their speeches, reproposed the origins, profile and goals of the Pontifical Mission Societies, underlining the universal character that characterizes them by being the instrument of the Pope's pastoral solicitude towards all Churches.
Responding to the journalists' questions, Archbishop Rugambwa and Cardinal Filoni described the Pontifical Missionary Holy Childhood Association as an effective tool to educate young generations to gratuitousness and sensitivity towards those who need it. Cardinal Filoni on responding to a question regarding the legislative obstacles placed in some nations to missionary activity, reproposed the figures of the first Korean Christian laity, Chinese Xu Guangqi ("the mandarin of God"), and Japanese Takayama Ucon ("the samurai of God") as examples of lay people who confessed faith in Christ even in difficult contexts surrounded by political and cultural resistance and oppositions. In this regard, the Cardinal also focused on the figure of Pauline Marie Jaricot, the founder of the Pontifical Society of the Propagation of the Faith in France, for whom the process of beatification is in progress, and who will be celebrated one day as a witness to the missionary solicitude expressed by the laity, next to St. Francis of Saverio and Santa Teresa of Lisieux, already proclaimed Patroness of the missions.
At the opening of the Press Conference, the present also attended the showing of the video "Cloister is Mission", produced by Agenzia Fides and disseminated, on the occasion of World Mission Day, to mark the 90th anniversary of the proclamation of Teresa di Lisieux "Patroness of missions". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 20/10/2017)