Not usual missionaries: Papal Vicar in Rome wants risk takers

A new neighbourhood missionary outreach initiative in Rome is looking for teams of “courageous explorers”, risk takers in other words.

“Don’t go looking for those who have shown they are prudent, measured and detail-oriented,” Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, told pastors in the diocese of Rome last week.

Ideally, the teams should include “people who draw outside the lines, people whom the Holy Spirit has made passionate about imperfection.”

The focus of the diocese for the 2019-2020 pastoral year is on “listening to the cry of the city” and responding to it.

The aim is for stronger parish communities, a greater focus on Sunday Mass, visiting the poor and lonely, providing concrete assistance to those in need and reaching out to young people and families.

While De Donatis suggests 12 people should serve on each pastoral team, the number is not a requirement.

“We do not need competent and qualified professionals as much as Christians who apparently are like everyone else but, in reality, are able to dream, to infect others with their dreams and want to experience something new,” De Donatis says.

“Perhaps these are people you have tried to contain a bit up until now — frankly, they can be destabilising — but no more; you must draw them near, listen to them, value them and let them act so they can disturb the drowsy tranquility of others.”

Donatis says once selected, the first thing the pastoral team should do is to go out into the parish neighbourhoods, talk to people, observe and then “map the characteristics” in light of the area’s history and the lifestyle of residents.

The team should include the presence of schools, workplaces, places where people gather, pockets of greater poverty, areas of “social violence” and the presence of organized crime.

The team should meet with the pastor and catechists, leaders of parish groups and youth and young adult ministers often, De Donatis says.

Their aim will be to listen to their observations and brainstorm together about how to help all parishioners live their faith more openly and share it with others in the neighborhood.

De Donatis says he hopes this initiative will make the diocesan church “more attentive to others, more aware of people’s deepest questions, more convinced of the Good News that it is called to proclaim and more sensitive to God’s inspiration.”


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,