Echoes of the Plenary Council – 22nd November 2019 (2)

Echoes from the Plenary Council - 22nd November 2019 (2)

Yesterday afternoon (the 21st) the group work and the plenary session that followed concerning the question of mission took in many different aspects.  Our involvement in JPIC, the rise of fanaticism and insecurity in the area where we work, ecumenism and dialogue, mission in general, parish work, mission in Africa and beyond, migrants and human trafficking. In fact, the main concern was to see what we have achieved since the chapter in these areas or how far have we moved forward to be in line with the chapter demands. In many ways it was easy to list all that we have done and are achieving even though at times our efforts may have been not so successful or hampered by different circumstances. Yet the real question remains:  how to move forward and be more prophetic especially in the choices of insertion that we make? Above all we have to focus on just how we want to be missionaries in the world today and just where our charism is truly needed. Certainly we need the professional help of confreres that are specialised through their studies in these areas and yet surely we cannot send all our confreres for study. It is about working on the ground, about being interested in all these areas in the parishes where we are. All must become conscious of these fundamental attitudes of mission that encompass all these important areas and that can be integrated in the ministry that is ours. We have coordinators in all these areas and some can be very effective for they visit the parish communities and they organise meetings so that there is, through their animation, much greater awareness. Once again all those that come to Rome for the various sessions in these areas (ecumenism, interculturality, integrity of mission, communications, JPIC, Human trafficking etc.) are called to be animators when they return to their province and use the skills they have attained to animate their provinces and sectors/sections. 

Mission must not be conceived as projects with financial implications and duration; mission surely is a way of life, it is a way of being, it is about the transmission of life and life in abundance. Some would call into question the term prophetic when we talk about the choice of prophetic insertions; others would prefer to call them symbolic. Yet surely prophetic somehow has to do with being audacious, it is about taking risks, even though we feel we don’t really have the personnel, it is about going to places and living among people in situations where many would prefer not to go.  In fact, it is about moving out into the peripheries and not being isolated from the real needs of the world in which we live (that would be self-absorption).  

Francis Barnes

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