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The particular church, led by the bishop, who is helped by priests and deacons, with the collaboration of consecrated persons and the laity, is the subject of the New Evangelization. This is so because in each place, the particular church is the concrete manifestation of the Church of Christ and as such initiates, coordinates and accomplishes the pastoral actions through which the New Evangelization is carried out. In the Church the call to holiness, directed to all the baptized, rings out, inviting them to follow Christ and turn with love and goodwill towards all people, in order to discern the action of the Holy Spirit in them. “As I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Joh. 13, 34-35). For the first Christian communities, communion was a constitutive element of the life of faith and necessary to evangelization: they had one heart and mind. The Church is communion, that is to say, the Church is the Family of God.

The Church enables each of her members to be aware of their responsibility to be like leaven in the dough. In this way, “faith working through love” (Gal. 5, 6) will become a contagious witness for the world in all her dimensions, offering to every person the possibility of meeting Christ and becoming evangelizers in their turn.

It would be desirable if each particular church, whatever difficulties occur, developed a sense of mission among her faithful by cooperating with other particular churches.

Each particular Church is the primary community of the Church’s mission. It must animate and lead a renewed pastoral activity able to integrate the variety of charisms, ministries, states of life and resources. All these realities must be coordinated within an organic missionary project, capable of communicating the fullness of Christian life to everyone, especially to those who feel themselves far from the Church’s care. Such an endeavor must arise from the dialogue and cooperation of all diocesan components, including: parishes, small Christian communities, educational communities, communities of consecrated life, associations, movements and individual faithful. Every pastoral program must transmit the true novelty of the Gospel, and be centered on a personal and living encounter with Jesus. It should also be ordered to eliciting in all people a generous embrace of the faith, and a willingness to accept the call to be witnesses.
The Holy Spirit directs the Church in her missionary evangelization “with various hierarchical and charismatic gifts” 2e Vaticaans Concilie, Constitutie, Over de Kerk, Lumen Gentium (21 nov 1964), 4. In fact the dioceses are “a portion of the people of God under the pastoral care of the bishop, helped by his presbyterate” 2e Vaticaans Concilie, Decreet, Over het herderlijk ambt van de bisschoppen in de Kerk, Christus Dominus (28 okt 1965), 11, where the diverse charismatic realities recognize the authority of the bishop as integral to their own proper action in service of the ecclesial mission. The Bishop has the responsibility for “judging the genuineness of these gifts and guiding their ordinary use” 2e Vaticaans Concilie, Constitutie, Over de Kerk, Lumen Gentium (21 nov 1964), 12, as an authentic resource for the life and mission of the Church. The hierarchical gifts and the charismatic gifts, flowing from the one Spirit of God, are not in competition but rather co-essential to the life of the Church and to the effectiveness of her missionary action Vgl. H. Paus Johannes Paulus II, Boodschap, Tot het Wereldcongres van kerkelijke bewegingen en nieuwe gemeenschappen, De kerkelijke bewegingen vormen betekenisvolle vruchten van de lente van de Kerk zoals deze door het Concilie was voorzegd (27 mei 1998). The consecrated life occupies a special place in the charismatic dimension of the Church Vgl. Congregatie v d Inst v h Gewijde Leven en de Sociëten Apost Leve, Richtlijnen voor de wederzijdse betrekkingen tussen de bisschoppen en de religieuzen in de Kerk, Mutuae relationes (14 mei 1978), 34 Rispartire da Cristo, 32; as such, fully inserted into the ecclesial communion, they contribute with their own proper gifts to missionary evangelization. Studies should be undertaken at both diocesan and interdiocesan levels to see how both the charismatic and hierarchical gifts are able to cooperate in the pastoral action and in the spiritual life of the Church.

Since Vaticanum II, the New Evangelization has greatly benefited from the dynamism of the new ecclesial movements and new communities. Their ideal of holiness and unity has been the source of many vocations and remarkable missionary initiatives. The Synod recognizes these new realities and encourages them to utilise their charisms in close collaboration with the dioceses and the parish communities, who in turn, will benefit from their missionary spirit.

The parish, in and through all of its activities, should animate its members to become agents of the New Evangelization, witnessing through both their words and their lives. For this reason, it is important to remember that the parish remains the usual environment for the spiritual life of the parishioners. The Synod therefore encourages parish visits to families as a way of parish renewal. It sometimes happens that the parish is seen as only a place for important events or even as a tourist center. Along the same line, “pastoral agents” in hospitals, youth centres, factories, prisons, etc., have to bear in mind that the New Evangelization should find a home in these places. The Church should in fact be present in such places, since Christ showed his preference for the persons found there. As much as lies within their power, all Churches are therefore exhorted to be open to this mission, wherever they are.
The vocation and the mission proper to lay faithful is the transformation of worldly structures, to let all human behavior and activities be informed by the Gospel. This is the reason why it is so important to guide the Christian laity into an intimate knowledge of Christ in order to form their moral conscience through their life in Christ. The Second Vatican Council identifies four main aspects of the mission of the baptized: the witness of their lives, works of charity and mercy, renewing the temporal order and direct evangelization Vgl. 2e Vaticaans Concilie, Constitutie, Over de Kerk, Lumen Gentium (21 nov 1964) Vgl. 2e Vaticaans Concilie, Decreet, Over het lekenapostolaat, Apostolicam Actuositatem (18 nov 1965). In this way, they will be able to give witness of a life truly coherent with their Christian faith, as individual persons and as a community.

The laity cooperate in the Church’s work of evangelization, as witnesses and at the same time as living instruments they share in her saving mission Vgl. 2e Vaticaans Concilie, Decreet, Over de missie-activiteit van de Kerk, Ad Gentes Divinitus (7 dec 1965), 41. Therefore the Church values the gifts that the Spirit is making to every baptized for the construction of the body, and should provide adequate encouragement and training to foster their apostolic zeal in the transmission of the faith.


Soort: Bisschoppensynodes
Auteur: Synodevaders
Datum: 27 oktober 2012
Copyrights: © 2012, Radio Vaticana
Voorlopig Engelstalige versie in afwachting van een Nederlandse vertaling
Bewerkt: 7 november 2019


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