Bangalore (Agenzia Fides) - "I thank you for this invitation that brings me for the first time in my life in India, in a country that offers many promises for the future of the Church. It has been my desire to come here personally to share with you our gratitude for your work and to encourage you in the great effort of evangelization you are carrying out". This is how Archbishop Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies, today began his intervention during the Symposium dedicated to the New Evangelization, which takes place in Bangalore from 7 to 9 March (see Fides 6/3/2018) organized by the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Msgr. Dal Toso presented the origin and purpose of the four Pontifical Mission Societies starting from the authentic meaning of mission, received from Christ as he ascended to the Father, "in fact, the Church's mandate to proclaim the Gospel cannot be justified except in the mission of Christ". Citing therefore the Holy Scriptures, the Second Vatican Council and the Magisterium of the last Pontiffs, the Archbishop emphasized that "it is not about spreading an ideology, or a culture, or a new morality", but "the mission of the Church is that every person may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit: from the personal encounter with Christ who died and rose from the dead for each and every one of us we have come to know the eternal life, which we must, in turn, share with others". The Pontifical Mission Societies "have a precise significance, because they share and support this mission of the Church".
Therefore the President of the PMS presented the four Pontifical Mission Societies highlighting the historical context in which they were born, their founders, the purposes, the current structure, the significance of the Holy Father’s decision to make these four societies "Pontifical". "The Pontificate of Pope Francis has, without any doubt, reinforced and strengthened the missionary spirit in the whole Church" the Archbishop continued, in a historic moment in which "missionary fervor seems to have diminished within the Church" for different reasons, internal and external. Despite everything "we must have hope!", he exhorted, because "if it is true that the faith has numerically weakened, it is also true that we are witnessing a flourishing of initiatives and charisms, often carried out by the laity, inspired by God precisely to help the Church evangelize in this challenging moment in history".
In the last part of his speech, Msgr. Dal Toso spoke of the extraordinary missionary Month of October 2019, inviting everyone "to begin preparing for this Extraordinary Missionary Month, making it know in every Diocese and Archdiocese of this country and beyond; encouraging local initiatives in making the proclamation of the Good News of Christ at the centre of the pastoral plan of the local Church".
At the end of his speech, Msgr. Dal Toso introduced the workshop dedicated to the Extraordinary Missionary Month: "The essential goal lies in the spiritual and pastoral renewal of the personal and community awareness and commitment to the mission of the Church in order to regenerate missionary zeal and passion in every Christian heart. Evangelii Gaudium 15 thus represents the guideline of all our effort, prayer and reflection for this month". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 8/3/2018)