Madrid (Agenzia Fides) - "Church and mission: a fruitful relationship" was the theme of the academic Act which took place this morning at San Damaso University in Madrid, organized by the Chair of Missionology of the Faculty of Theology. Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies, gave a speech on the subject, introduced by the Dean of the Faculty of Theology, prof. Gabriel Richi Alberti, and by the Coordinator of the Chair of Missiology, prof. Juan Carlos Carvajal Blanco.
The initiative was promoted by the National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies, in view of the celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019. "I feel the need to express all our gratitude to Pope Francis - the Archbishop said at the beginning of his speech - who announced this Extraordinary Month to stimulate the missionary awareness of the Church, that is, its call to reach all peoples to bring the announcement that the salvation of every man is found in the risen Christ". He then stressed that "the need to reawaken missionary ardor today is evident" and if we have the impression that the missionary world is going through a period of crisis, due to internal and external causes, we must not forget that "new forms of mission are being born from this crises, "because God does not forget his Church and always helps it to face the challenges that every age presents".
The Archbishop focused his speech "on the ecclesiological aspect of the mission and, in particular, on the thesis that, by its nature, the mission is ecclesial". Mgr. Dal Toso introduced the theme of the sacramental nature of the Church by quoting the different images reported by the conciliar Constitution Lumen Gentium, which after having reaffirmed Christ's missionary mandate states: "the Church, in Christ, is in the nature of sacrament, a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men". "This famous definition - he highlighted - underlines the profound connection between the work of Christ and the work of the Church, in a sacramental dimension". The President of the Pontifical Mission Societies therefore developed three themes: the Church, the subject of the mission; the faith of the Church as the content of the mission; the formation of the Church as an objective of the mission.
The Archbishop concluded: "I am convinced that fidelity to the design of the Trinitarian God and fidelity to man require us to be faithful to Christ and to be faithful to his Church". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 14/5/2019)