Evangelization and Pastoral Ministry
The world was created by God for sharing his joy with every creature. As the angels announced the birth of the Saviour, the humankind received the permanent assurance of perpetual joy; Jesus himself became the Good News of peace and joy to all humanity. Hence, today this proclamation should be carried out not only in an atmosphere of joy, but it must also be a reason for joy for all.
The Good News which Jesus proclaimed and which he himself became was especially a “good news to the poor…..release to the captives…and liberty to those who are oppressed”. It was thus he announced “the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk.4: 18-20). As this good news was fulfilled in Jesus, so must it be fulfilled in and through our life and mission.
Mission is the result of a deep Christ-experience the individual has and the urge to share it with others. When the disciples experienced the Risen Lord, they felt it was their duty – rather than a mandate coming from outside – to share with others an experience that totally altered their lives.” When we understand the mission as the fruit of deep God-experience, we will be able to take all feasible approaches and methods in order to share that experience with others.
We know that the Church is missionary by nature and that she exists to evangelize. So, when we, who are nurtured in a nucleus faith community, encounter members of other communities, we share our faith with them in order to establish a communion of communities. We cannot be truly Christians, if we do not have a burning zeal for evangelization. Still more, one cannot miss the vital relationship in the gospels between the radical discipleship to Jesus Christ and apostleship i.e. the call to be sent to the world to continue his mission. Our vowed life has full sense only in its apostolic orientation.
The members of the Congregation, by the profession of evangelical counsels, are committed to share in the life and holiness of the Church more intimately and, hence, undertake the mission to serve the divine plan for the kingdom of God by proclaiming the gospel of Christ.
The most efficacious means for the fulfillment of this mission is the living witness of the evangelical life the members lead. The founding fathers, activated by an intense prayer life, undertook every form of activity required by the actual needs of the Church, and those apostolic works enriched their prayer life. Following their example, the members of the Congregation try to blend both prayer and apostolic activities harmoniously in a way that each enriches the other.
As a religious congregation originating from and situated in a context in which millions have not received the good news of Christ’s salvation, we consider evangelization one of our most important tasks. The Spirit of God present in us invites us to proclaim Jesus Christ, the Word-made-flesh, who became the Lord and focal point of human history. We realize with deep humility and sincere gratitude that we are called by Christ to proclamation the Word in our land with its millennia-long search for God and the “impressive patrimony of deeply religious texts impregnated with innumerable seeds of the Word” (EN 53).
Following the example of Christ who assumed human nature and became like us in every respect (Heb. 2:17) except sin (Heb. 4:15), our missionary task is to become the leaven in the mass, evangelize cultures by inspiring with gospel values, the traditions, customs and way of life of peoples, and build up Christian communities which by the very witness of their life will communicate the hope and message of salvation from community to community.
The ministry of the gospel demands that we become all things to all men according to the example of the Apostle, identifying ourselves with the concerns and aspirations of the people, applying the gospel to their actual needs and problems, sharing their life and working with them for all-round betterment of their life.
In our mission of evangelization, we are conscious of the reality of religious pluralism in the world and especially in our country and recognize the providential role the world religions have played and are still playing in the life of peoples. In our approach to these religions we keep in view the unity of all men in the divine plan of salvation and the convergence of all history in Christ who came to fulfill the expectations of all peoples and religions. Establishing fellowship with all men who sincerely seek God, we shall deepen our own faith-experience and co-operate with them in doing good to the people.
We also bear in mind that we as priests have special responsibility to minister to the holiness of the members of the Church. Hence, pastoral ministry has been a chief apostolate of our Congregation from its beginning. Since pastoral ministry is an important means for communicating Christ’s love for his people, we shall be the living testimony of the presence of Christ in us and should become a living radiation of that presence to others. A minister of Christ shall be a man of God, who has attained a high degree of union with Christ through prayer and who can easily enter into communion with his people. Thorough priestly ordination we also share in a special way in the ministry of Christ for the building up of the Church on earth, the pilgrim people of God. This priestly ministry always takes the first place among the fields of our apostolate.