Cardinal Filoni opens the Assembly of the PMS: "form people to the true sense of the Church"
Vatican City – “I like to think of this Assembly as the place and the moment when the entire missionary Church, present and active in all peoples and cultures, is gathered in fraternal communion, at the service of evangelization … The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Mission Societies have the privilege of being projected beyond the borders of their local Churches and their country”. This is how Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples expressed himself during the opening of the Annual General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies on Monday, June 1, which will last for the whole week .
“Our missionary service and our institutions are at the heart of the Church” reaffirmed the Cardinal, stressing three events: the Year of Consecrated Life, “which should encourage a relaunch of the evangelization activity of contemporary man, through the witness to Christ with a renewed evangelical radicalism, with the creativity of charity, and the prophetic role which is necessary and urgent in our time”; then the special Jubilee of Mercy, which “can be a strong reason to relauch our activities with more courage”; Finally the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Conciliar Decree Ad Gentes on the Missionary Activity of the Church, and will be the theme of the plenary session of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, in November: “It will be a strong moment, intended to stimulate a reading of the situation of Churches in mission territories, of the activities of evangelization, of the difficulties that they face today, and of the specific service the Congregation is asked to carry out”.
Recalling the theme of the pastoral session of the Assembly, “How to support the mission today and tomorrow”, read in the light of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Cardinal Filoni emphasized how during this research it is important “to go back to what is really essential”. Identifying the right criterion for modern missionary cooperation, he reiterated that it “cannot be depleted in the collection of donations, however, necessary to finance and help the local churches to carry out its service regarding pastoral care and evangelization”.
We need to form people “to the true meaning of the Church, as blessed Paul VI said”. “Unfortunately we have to complain about a loss of the ecclesial sense in the West therefore a weakening of missionary cooperation. This is also reflected in the decrease of tenders”, he noted.
The Prefect of the Missionary Congregation then focused on the importance of the cooperation of the Church: the new missionaries and other ecclesial bodies born especially after the Council “all have the aim of the evangelizing activity and the help to the Churches of the territories of missions” and therefore the Pontifical Mission Societies “must serve this missionary programming, aware that the missionary responsibility, which they have helped to create in the whole Church, is now an element that characterizes all the local Churches”. “We should not see them as competitors” recommended Cardinal Filoni, urging instead to work to open “a line of communication between these bodies so that they implement an equitable distribution of subsidies”.
Finally, the Prefect of the Congregation focused on the reduction of the offers, “a trend that has lasted for some time. Maybe not everything is due to the financial crisis. There are many factors”, and the need to give due importance to World Mission Day, which “should not be an occasional event, but the conclusion of one year of missionary animation, and especially the month of October, dedicated to missions. It is up to us to make it unique and singular”.
Link correlati :The full text of Cardinal Filoni’s speech, (in Italian)