AMERICA/ECUADOR - The Bishops: "Our dreams for Ecuador and for the pilgrim Church in these lands"

Friday, 4 December 2020 episcopal conferences   pastorqal conversion   missionary animation  

Quito (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of Ecuador express their "dreams" for the country and for the Church in the 2020-2024 Pastoral Guidelines. "Dreams in the Sacred Scripture represent the passage of God in the lives of those whom he chooses for a mission" they write in the introduction, and citing Pope Francis, who in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium dreams of a "missionary option" capable of transforming the whole Church with a view to the the evangelization of the world, they affirm: "Along this line, we Bishops want to express with joy and audacity our dreams for Ecuador and for the pilgrim Church in these lands".
The dreams in question are grouped into four categories: social, cultural, ecological and ecclesial. For each of the categories, the motivation, the dream and the pastoral actions to be undertaken are indicated. As far as society is concerned, they remind us that it is not healthy to get used to evil. They therefore dream of an Ecuador made of "equality and development, where the rights of all are respected, especially the poorest and most vulnerable", where there is work for all, where migrants and refugees are welcomed, where corruption is banned. The pastoral actions suggested consist of: promoting Caritas in all parishes as well as projects for the reception and integration of migrants in each diocese; organizing permanent study courses on the Magisterium and to solicit the participation of the laity in political life.
From a cultural point of view, they dream of an Ecuador "that values its pluricultural identity, its roots, recognizing that we are brothers without distinction, children of the same family"; where the contribution of the Christian faith in the search for a more human society is recognized and where the awareness of the "new cultural colonialisms" is recognized, in addition to meeting the challenges launched by urban and digital culture. In this regard, the document suggests promoting interculturality in structures and parishes, also with the use of indigenous languages; to develop catechisms in the original languages; to promote the study of these languages in training centers intended for seminarians, priests and pastoral workers, but also to dialogue with contemporary culture.
The Bishops dream of an Ecuador that "guards creation in its entirety, that guards human life, as well as the abundant life of rivers, seas, woods, mountains and valleys ... that takes measures against contamination and regulates mining" . As pastoral actions, the document recommends: promoting the study of the Encyclical Laudato Sì; to introduce the theme of the theology of creation and integral ecology in catechesis, in preaching, in educational projects.
Regarding the ecclesial aspect, the Bishops dream of "missionary communities where the witness of life and the passionate proclamation of the kerygma is the key to every process of evangelization"; uncultural communities in which the liturgy welcomes symbols and rites of our people; Ministerial communities, in which each, according to his particular vocation, "is co-responsible for the joyful proclamation of the Gospel"; Supportive communities that take care of vulnerable people and offer them alternatives for promotion. To make this dream come true, they suggest making the Gospel Message present in all means of communication, strengthening reflection on urban pastoral care and digital culture in evangelization processes; to promote lay ministries and the permanent diaconate and to strengthen family pastoral care.
The Bishops therefore offer some Pastoral Guidelines to ecclesiastical jurisdictions to "continue the process of the New Evangelization, so that the baptized live as authentic missionary disciples of Jesus Christ". The indications in question affect different areas (Bible, Catechesis, Liturgy, Ecumenism, Seminars, Ecclesial Movements, Communication…). Regarding the Mission, they underline: "To promote the spirituality and commitment of the local Church ad intra and ad extra; facilitate the missionary formation of pastoral workers, so that all pastoral structures are transformed into 'outgoing' communities, animated by the Holy Spirit, to announce that the Kingdom of God is near". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 4/12/2020)