05 December 2019
Laity

Baptized and sent

Secretary Fr. Awi speaks at the Urbanianum on “The evangelizing vocation of the laity and ecclesial movements”

Recently, the Secretary of our Dicastery, Father Alexandre Awi Mello, participated in an international conference titled: Dalla Maximum illud alla Evangelii gaudium. Sull’urgenza della trasformazione missionaria della Chiesa (“From Maximum illud to Evangelii gaudium. On the urgency of the missionary transformation of the Church.”) The event, held by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples at the Pontifical University Urbaniana, aimed to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximun illud, which represents a formidable demonstration of the awareness on the part of the whole Church of the need to “evangelically requalify” her mission to in the world.

Father Awi spoke on the theme: “Baptized and sent: The evangelizing vocation of the laity and ecclesial movements.” With the starting point of missionary action as the paradigm for every work of the Church, Fr. Awi explained that the conversion to this dynamic can receive its impetus and motivation “from above,” that is, “from the Pope and the hierarchy, but it will only be effective if it reaches the heart and life of all of the faithful, i.e. it can only be realized ‘from below,’ especially starting from the life of ordinary Christians, from the lay faithful—that is, if they become aware of their missionary identity.”

In this sense, “a clear missionary commitment” is a part of the “great majority of movements” that, “always seeking the necessary communion with the bishops and with the Pope, manifest the universality of their missionary call at the service of the Particular and Universal Church. The strong presence of the laity in these new movements also gives them a special lay tone, in relation to the spheres of human development and the announcement of the faith, starting precisely from the fundamental experiences of life, such as marriage and family, birth, death, work, and the search for the common good or the fight for justice.”

Finally, the Secretary dwelt on the figure of Mary, “lay in missionary activity”; hence, the exhortation to laity and ecclesial movements to “keep their gaze fixed on Mary because, at her school, they learn the true meaning of being ‘baptized and sent’ to carry out their evangelizing mission in the world.”