Rome (Fides Service) – “If the work of a national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies is exciting and rewarding, it is also delicate and important for the entire missionary life of the particular Churches and for the universal Church”. Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, inaugurated on Thursday 8 May the annual general assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies PMS with an address focused on the theme of missionary animation. Newly appointed National Directors had already attended a first session of the assembly arranged especially for them which began on Monday 4 May.
“This task of animation, conferred on you with a special mandate by the Church, comes from Christ the Lord. From Jesus’ command to go out to the whole world to preach the Gospel to every creature, derives the Church’s commitment to propagate the faith and the salvation of Christ” the Cardinal Prefect told the National Directors of the PMS. “Your task places you at the heart of ecclesial life and your responsibility is great in front of your particular Churches and the universal Church. If it is true, as the Holy Father writes, that in recent times missionary animation waned, then we must all take new courage and enthusiasm to change this tendency which has caused so much damage especially in mission countries.”
Cardinal Sepe then recalled that missionary animation entrusted to the Pontifical Mission Societies is “a reality difficult to define since it includes a multiplicity of ideas, sentiments and actions whose sum is elusive for a numerical count or a simple definition”. Without missionary animation there can be no missionary life, since animation “is pastoral activity to render missionary people, institutions, Christian communities, in a word, all the Particular Churches which, with the Pope, form the universal Church”.
The Cardinal Prefect congratulated the Directors for the numerous initiatives undertaken in different countries to achieve this missionary animation and he urged them not to neglect another important point: the promotion of missionary vocations. “From commitment for missionary animation there comes also the possibility of solving the serious problem of material cooperation between the Churches – Cardinal Sepe concluded -. In fact the more the faithful are spiritually animated the more willing they are to give their goods for a cause so noble and necessary for the very life of the Church”.SL (Fides Service 9/5/2003 EM lines 29 Words: 399)out