EUROPE/ITALY - Renewing the missionary spirit: a formation program at the Gregoriana University

Saturday, 6 July 2019 extraordinary missionary month   missionary animation   mission   evangelization   formation  

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - Responding to the challenges that the various contexts of religious and cultural pluralism pose to faith in the Church's mission, through a "theological, intellectual and spiritual renewal": this is how Fr. Brayn Lobo SJ, Dean of the Faculty of Missiology at the Pontifical Gregoriana University explains to Agenzia Fides the reasons that led to create an updated program for missionaries.
"We tried to understand what could be the needs and challenges that our faculty could face", the professor told Fides.
"We have given life to this project by listening to the requests of many missionaries over the past few years and their desire to be able to attend a short course of formation", which goes hand in hand with the spirit with which Pope Francis announced the Extraordinary Missionary Month, for October 2019. "Many of the missionaries cannot enroll in university courses, because they are in Italian and they do not have time to study the language", notes Fr. Lobe. "Therefore - he continues - we have thought about this updating program for missionaries in English, with the aim of helping to give new impetus to their pastoral work".
The updating program will begin with the next academic year, 2019-2020. Registrations are open and will close on December 17th 2019.
"During the lectures, there will be pastoral insights on spirituality, on the relationship between proclamation and dialogue, on communication, the new evangelization, globalization, interculturality and religious fundamentalism: all themes that represent the new missionary fields of action", explains Father Bryan.
A characteristic of being missionaries today is that of “being a source of inspiration for others, be they individuals, small groups, religious or civil institutions. This requires awareness and a spirit of service, affirming fidelity to God, attentive to today's social challenges", notes the Dean. "Currently – he highlights - we are witnessing a development of the traditional perspective of the missio ad gentes in close connection with that of inter gentes, which is projecting the Church towards a dimension more open to the outgoing neighbor. Our goal is to train people not only able to take on the responsibility of leading a community, but also to follow an evangelical model in doing so".
Among the other initiatives related to teaching, Father Lobo also indicates seminars and workshops centered on individual thematic insights. Visits to important archaeological and religious sites related to the mission of the Church have been planned. At the end of the lessons, a pilgrimage to Jerusalem will also take place: "In June next year - he says in conclusion - we will visit the places of the Holy Land, where the Christian mission began, two thousand years ago. For all participants it will be an occasion for spiritual enrichment, prayer and reflection and will serve to give a strong impulse to their missionary work". (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 6/7/2019)