Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - "The parish we dream of is called to evangelize and be evangelized, to be a community of communities, sustained by the spirituality of communion, to celebrate the mysteries of faith as a source of communion and mission, in solidarity and commitment to all , especially with the most needy, carrying out works of charity, paying attention to cultural changes, encouraging human promotion and integral development, influencing the transformation of the excluding and predatory structures of the Common Home". It is one of the points (n.7) of the final message of the II National Pastoral Assembly, which was held from July 8 to 10, on the theme "A missionary parish that goes forth for the new times". Some 300 including bishops, priests, deacons, members of the consecrated life, lay women and men, gathered, virtually and in person, "to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, in the exercise of mutual listening, to dream of the parish that we want, and discern the will of God, in communion with the Magisterium of Pope Francis".
In the final message, sent to Fides, it is highlighted that "for a long time we have been walking together, in synodality, a practice which the Plenary Council of Venezuela gave impetus", and the preparatory path of this Assembly has led "to listening, dialogue, discerning and bearing fruit", "now we continue walking with the commitment to carry out the motions that the Holy Spirit has aroused in us". Therefore, the need for "personal, ecclesial, pastoral and social" conversion is emphasized, which will invigorate the processes of evangelization and will make the parishes "authentically missionary and and outgoing for the new times". Sharing the joys and hopes, the anguish and sadness of all citizens, the Assembly participants are convinced that "we can have a better Venezuela, more fraternal, more humane, where there is justice and peace", therefore "from each of our parishes, we want to be builders of a country, with a more just and fraternal social fabric; we want to assume the call to be witnesses of the love and tenderness of God and revive hope from the missionary option". The parish "is called to pastoral conversion, to respond creatively, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to the challenges of the present time, to be fraternal communities, where everyone feels loved and welcomed, and to go out to the human and existential peripheries to announce the risen Jesus Christ, celebrating faith and living charity".
After reiterating that "the Church is synodal and must always be outgoing", the message invites us to set up the Pastoral and Economic Council in all parishes, "as structures that dynamize evangelizing action, always open to the Holy Spirit that will inspire new structures that promote synodality and mission, as well as new ministries oriented to evangelization". Parishes must also be "safe environments, where vulnerable people are safeguarded and protected", and privileged spaces "for the reconstruction of the Global Educational Pact". In the final part, the message invites: "Let us go to meet our brother, let us walk together in listening, in dialogue, in discernment, in mission, creating a new culture of consensus, where everyone is involved as the Church of the People of God. Let us live with others, pray with others, work with others, with everyone, seeking the common good, the brotherhood of the sons and daughters of God and social friendship, always according to the criteria of the Gospel. If we do so, we can say that the assiduous exercise of synodality is a great contribution of Catholic Christians to civil and public life". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 12/7/2022)