Mission: Key to Understanding John Paul II's Pontificate

Review Dedicates an Issue to This Papal Dimension

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ROME, JUNE 9, 2004 (Zenit.org).- An academic review dedicated an issue to John Paul II, saying it is not possible to understand his pontificate unless one sees evangelization as the foundation of his ministry.

In fact, the relation between the Pope and the mission is the topic of 17 articles published in Euntes Docete, a periodical of the Urban University of Rome.

The authors highlight in their texts how the Holy Father has become an “‘homo viator,’ a pilgrim who does not stop at any geographic, social or religious limit,” the introduction to the special missionary issue states.

The monograph tries to give an overall view of the Pope’s missionary character, as well as to underline the theological and pastoral aspects of his ministry.

Juvenal Ilunga Muya, of the Urban University, explains how for John Paul II “enculturation is a correlation between the Gospel and culture,” and illustrates how the Pope considers optimal the method of evangelization of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, apostles of the Slav countries, who were able to integrate the faith in cultures.

Costa Rican Bishop Victorino Girardi Stellin of Tilaran mentions the apostolic exhortation “Ecclesia in America” and highlights how “the Holy Father has called us insistently to the new evangelization” of that continent. According to the bishop, there is, in the course of the years, a “‘crescendo’ in the missionary magisterium of John Paul II especially in Latin America.”

Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, describes the Pope as “witness of hope for all peoples, cultures and nations.”

The Italian prelate says that the method of evangelization indicated by the Pope is “to do and to teach,” the very path “the Church must follow to be truly a mission Church in the world.”

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