Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Agenzia Fides) - "On May 19 we celebrated the 175th anniversary of the foundation of the Holy Childhood Society. It is important to celebrate this anniversary not only to commemorate a past rich in graces and blessings spread all over the world by children for children, but also to recognize, even more today, the relevance and validity of the participation of children in the universal mission of the Church, as protagonists of the proclamation of the Gospel". This is what Sister Roberta Tremarelli, Secretary General of the Pontifical Missionary Childhood Society, recalled in her speech yesterday afternoon, July 12, at the Fifth American Missionary Congress (CAM 5), in progress in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
A missionary pastoral care with children, she recalled, is carried out in three complementary areas: missionary Animation, to awaken and support in children the universal missionary spirit; Missionary Formation, to help the children to do the "School with Jesus" and, therefore, to assume missionary criteria and mentality, like that of their Master; Missionary Cooperation, to help each child to offer his own missionary contribution in his local community and in favor of universal evangelization.
"To carry out their mission as children of God and live fully, children need spiritual and material support", said Sister Roberta. The Holy Childhood Society carries out its activities according to the principle of subsidiarity, that is in continuous collaboration with the various local structures, in particular those dedicated to education". Therefore, close collaboration is necessary between all those who work in the world of childhood, because through prayer, catechesis, information, participation in the various charitable actions, they promote the opening of children's hearts to the universal call in the love of Christ.
"The Church's call to charity develops in solidarity and universal brotherhood - said Sister Roberta Tremarelli -. Missionary Childhood is an example of a global dimension for the simple fact that it involves children from all over the world in a reciprocal and community way. In this way the child experiences catholicity. Missionary Childhood is above all a Society of animation and missionary formation that has a solidarity fund to which all children are called to contribute with a gesture of missionary solidarity".
By participating in the Church's mission, every Christian becomes a builder of communion, of peace, of the solidarity that Christ has given us, and thus collaborates in the realization of God's salvific plan for all of humanity.
The preparation and celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, in October 2019, is a favorable opportunity to give new impetus to the animation and missionary formation according to the four guidelines indicated by Pope Francis: prayer; testimony of the missionaries; biblical, theological, catechetical reflection; charity. Another aspect highlighted by the Pope is the holiness of life of those who profess themselves Christians so that the apostolate becomes fruitful. Thus, saints should not be considered a faded memory of the past, but instead a concrete reality, within everyone's reach, as we are all called to be saints to make the gifts of baptism bear fruit.
"I think it is very important to reawaken in children and adolescents - Sr. Roberta commented - the desire for holiness".
In the concluding part of her speech, the Secretary General of the Pontifical Missionary Childhood Society proposed some food for thought, starting from the observation that "the fundamental challenge in evangelization is the separation between faith and life, between faith and social responsibility". Therefore, "it is necessary to educate the consciences of believers to help them discover the responsibilities that arise from baptism, from faith and that have an effect on personal life or on social life. It is necessary to help children, families and ourselves to channel the strength that comes from our faith". Among the topics of reflection, focus was placed on the human and Christian formation of youth, on how to bring the proclamation of the joy of the Gospel to children, to young people, to families who live in our own country; on the contribution to the discernment of vocations including the missionary one. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 13/7/2018)