Madrid (Agenzia Fides) - "Proclaiming Christ in Europe, from apostolic times to the third millennium" is the theme of the speech by Father Dinh Anh Nhue Nguyen, O.F.M. Conv., Secretary General of the Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU), who yesterday opened the work of the continental meeting of the national Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) of European countries in Madrid. The annual meeting of formation and sharing of experiences in the field of missionary animation in Europe takes place every year in a different Country.
Father Nguyen recalled the first steps of evangelization in Europe and insisted on the importance of the parish, both in post-communist countries and in the West, because "it continues to maintain and carry out its particular, essential and highly topical mission for pastoral care and the life of the Church. The parish continues to be a place where the faithful are offered opportunities for a genuine Christian experience and a place of authentic human interaction and socialization, both in situations of dispersion and anonymity, typical of large modern cities, and in rural and sparsely populated areas".
The Church's concern for Europe "arises from her very nature and mission. Over the centuries the Church has been closely linked to the Continent, so that the spiritual face of Europe has been shaped thanks to the commitment of great missionaries, the witness of saints and martyrs, and the tireless commitment of monks and nuns, religious and women and pastors". Furthermore, "the Church, as the bearer of the Gospel, has thus contributed to spreading and consolidating those values which have universalized European culture".
Father Nguyen stressed the need for unity around the Successor of Peter and for communion, so that the diversity of charisms and vocations converge and enrich the Church. He then recalled the mission of the laity, and the numerous examples of lay people who witnessed Christ and his Gospel through their service to public life, recalling the well-known "Fathers of Europe".
Another element is the presence of immigrants, whose presence "enriches the face of parishes and makes them more universal, more Catholic". Pastoral care is "an important missionary activity that can also help the local faithful to rediscover the joy of the Christian faith they have received". In the conclusion, the Secretary General of the PMU indicated the tasks that the Pontifical Mission Societies must add to the new mission of evangelization of Europe. Among these, the "rediscovery" of the "European" origin of the Societies, developing their original charism and remembering the spirit that has always animated them and that Blessed Paolo Manna, founder of the Pontifical Missionary Union, summarized in one sentence: "All the Churches united for the conversion of the whole world". During the meeting, which will end on Friday, February 11, the Spanish PMS will illustrate the work done in the various areas of the Spanish Church, providing information on the Domund campaigns, Missionary Childhood and Autochthonous Vocations, on communication, training and animation initiatives, as well as on the activities that are developing around the Missionary Jubilees of 2022.
According to the program, the National Directors of the PMS of the European countries will illustrate the missionary animation activities of the respective nations. Father Tadeusz Jan Nowak, OMI, Secretary General of the Pontifical Society for Propagation for the Faith, will present tomorrow, February 10, his reflection on the nature and charism of the PMS and on their place and mission in the universal Church and in every local Church, which will be followed by the debate. Participants in the meeting will have the opportunity to visit the offices of the Spanish National Direction of the PMS and to concelebrate the Eucharist in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Almudena. (EG) (Agenzia Fides, 9/2/2022)