The Pastoral Project of 'Evangelii Gaudium'

International Meeting at Vatican to Examine Practical Application of Apostolic Exhortation

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“The Pastoral Project of Evangelii Gaudium”: this is the title of an upcoming international meeting to take place at the Vatican later this year for all those engaged in pastoral care.

The meeting, which is being organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, will reflect on the central themes of Pope Francis’ first apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel,” with specific regard to the pastoral renewal of the Church.

In an interview with ZENIT, Fr. Geno Sylva, an official of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, said the aim of the gathering will be to “to help bishops, and all pastoral workers, to transpose the beauty and the power of this document in a pastoral way so that it can be implemented in local and particular Churches around the world.”

“Following the promulgation of the apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium,” he said, the council took the initiative to organize the international meeting “which will reflect upon the central themes of this beautiful document in view of the pastoral renewal of the Church, in the light of the magisterium of Pope Francis.”

“It’s really all about how can we take the Holy Father’s call to missionary discipleship and concretely enact it and live it in the particular pastoral situations,” he said.

“The Pastoral Project of Evangelii Gaudium,” Fr. Sylva continued, stemmed from the wishes of Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. “It was his desire to take this document, and really look to the ways in which it can concretely become that pastoral plan and project,” he said.

The meeting, which will run from 18-20 September 2014, is being held specifically for all pastoral workers: priests, deacons, religious, and laypeople – including volunteers.

“All of these people share most closely in the work of the bishops in discerning the ways in which to respond to the constant call of the Risen Lord, to announce His Gospel with a renewed missionary spirit, and a Christian joy,» said Fr. Sylva.

The meeting will open with a presentation titled “Listening to the poor,” by Jean Vanier, founder of two major international community-based organizations, L’Arche, and Faith & Light, which offer aid to people with intellectual disabilities.

“We’re so excited that he’s going to open this whole meeting to us, to help us understand that we have so much to learn and listen from one another, as to how we can really respond to the call to holiness, to that unity and love with Christ,” said Fr. Sylva.

Other speakers have been invited to speak on themes taken from Evangelii Gaudium, presenting them in a pastoral context. Among the themes to be included: the promotion of the New Evangelization in cities, and within the family context; the spirituality of one who evangelizes; and the people of God as agents of evangelization;

The talks, Fr. Sylva said, will be directed at assisting “every baptized person to hear and to respond to the call, to the very duty that they have, that baptismal duty, to be evangelists and to invite people to the One Who is Love, Jesus Christ.”

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Ann Schneible

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