VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2002 (Zenit.org).-John Paul II asserted that the mission is not something restricted to a few; all Catholics must become missionaries.
The Holy Father expressed his conviction in a hand-delivered message to the participants in the annual General Assembly of the Pontifical Missionary Works, being held from the 16-24. The Assembly has gathered 113 national directors representing 150 countries worldwide into the Vatican.
“It is necessary that, in the different levels of responsibility, everyone in the Church be educated to cooperate together in the very mission of Christ,” the Pontiff said in his message.
This vocation, the Holy Father stated, “conserves all its validity: it represents the paradigm of the missionary commitment of the Church, which always has need of radical and total dedication, of a new and intrepid impulse.”
John Paul II made it clear that “the missionary activity can never be reduced to simple human development, to help for the poor, and the liberation of the oppressed.”
“Although one must intervene with courage on these fronts, in collaboration with every person of good will, the Church has another primary and specific task: to help every man and woman encounter Christ, the only Redeemer,” the message continued.
That is why “the saint is the authentic missionary and the world waits for saintly missionaries,” the papal text concludes.
The Pontifical Missionary Works, an institution of the universal Church and of each particular Church, is founded to support the missionary activity of the Church in non-Christian regions.
The institution carries out its task through the Diocesan Directions and Missionary Institutes, created primarily for world evangelization.
Dependent on the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Pontifical Missionary Works constitutes a unique institution with four different Works:
–The Work of the Propagation of the Faith: whose object is to awaken interest and responsibility for universal evangelization amongst families, Christian communities, parishes, teaching centers, ecclesial movements, and apostolic associations. It also works to promote spiritual and material assistance and the exchange of apostolic personnel for the evangelization of the world.
–The Work of St. Peter the Apostle: concerned with making Christian people sensitive to the need of the formation of a native clergy in each mission Church, and to foster spiritual and material collaboration with future priests.
— The Work of Missionary Childhood: to assist educators and trainers of children and adolescents by awakening in them a universal missionary conscience and guiding them toward a spiritual and material communion with children of less affluent regions and Churches.
–The Pontifical Missionary Union of the Clergy: is responsible for promoting the missionary formation of priests, of members of religious institutes and societies of common life, of secular institutes and candidates to the priesthood and consecrated life, and of persons committed to the pastoral ministry of the Church.