Inter-diocesan Consultation 2012
The late pope Paul VI told us that the Church exists to evangelize the world. But the world of today is not the same as it was twenty years ago. That is why both the late Pope John Paul II and our present Holy Father have called for a new evangelization, an evangelization that is suited to today’s world. They both have asked for a new zeal, a new zeal in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, a new commitment to the Church, a new determination to live a life of faith, hope and love in our families, in our parish and in our workplace.
In response to a changed society and to the call of the Popes, the Church in Southern Africa has embarked on a three-phase Inter-diocesan Consultation. The first Phase looked at the present situation and assessed if the Pastoral Plan, Community Serving humanity, is alive or dead.
Phase II of the Consultations presently going on. It is built around nine stories which are intended to help groups of Catholics examine what it means to be a member of the Catholic Church in today’s world and what it means to be a disciple of Christ.
If anyone has not heard of Phase II and the stories they should contact their diocesan office. Phase III of the Consultation will grow out of the first two Phases. All of us will examine how we can grow into the kind of Church Jesus wants us to be. How can we bring the good news of God’s love into today’s world? This task is the task of everyone, of each baptized catholic.
The coming Lenten season would be an opportune time for those who have not engaged with the Consultation to do so.
Back in 1975, Pope Paul VI wrote the following in which is probably his most famous letter “Evangelization in the Modern World”: “The Church exists to evangelize.”
While everybody can express himself today, it is imperative that the Church too has its voice heard. The objective of the Department of Evangelization is that the point of view of the Church, its ideals, policies and practices be publicly aired not only for our own members but for the world at large. It also promote, encourage and support renewal and evangelizing initiatives within the country in accordance with the above mentioned letter of the Pope Paul VI, as well as the thrust given to this by John Paul II in his apostolic letters and in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “The Church in Africa” (1995). On his first official visit outside the Vatican, to the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, Pope Benedict again reaffirmed the Church’s evangelising endeavour, that “Christ’s missionary mandate is more important than ever”.
Globalisation and secularisation, together with a mindset of relativism, have impacted greatly on all countries and cultures these last decades. The department’s vision is to help church groupings to be “what they should be”, so that they “set the world on fire” (Sainte Catharina of Sienna). While the content of the Gospel message remains the same, the way it is presented needs constant updating to make it relevant to our times.
The message is getting through that the Church exists to evangelize that all of us are the Church, and that the mission of Jesus is our mission: that is, to help people to renew and personalise their relationship with the Lord.
The Department coordinates the implementation of this vision through:
- Continuing implementation and updating of the Pastoral Plan and the Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Africa”
- Close collaboration with all the Departments, Offices, Desks and Associate Bodies of the Bishops’ Conference
- Liaising with the SACOP, LCCL and the Seminaries
- Coordinating the Youth Ministry through the Youth Desk
- Coordinating the Ministry to families through the Family Life Desk
- Coordinating the work of the various lay movements, Sodalities and Societies
- Coordinating the work of Inculturation in all the arms of Church and working in close collaboration with the existing
- Committee for Inculturation of the Department for Christian Formation and Liturgy
- Organizing a Pastoral Forum every three years and implementing the decisions of the Forum
- Making Dioceses aware of resources, movements and formation facilities that already exist and those that may become available
- Helping the local Church when requested to resolve problems related to Evangelization by way of examining, analyzing and interpreting problems, and in setting goals and priorities
- Being alert to the needs of the Small Christian Communities and promoting them
The membership of the Department shall consist of the following:
- Two Episcopal members
- The Secretary
- One of the Secretaries General
- The Director of Pastoral Training – Seminaries
- Two representatives of LUMKO
- A few key persons of Pastoral Centres or pastoral initiatives of the dioceses
- The Secretary of each Department and Office at Khanya House and the Director of each Associate Body
- The Youth Chaplain
- The Coordinator of the Family Life Desk
Evangelization and specialised ministries
Fr Sakhi Mofokeng: Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
399 Paul Kruger Street
Tel: +27 12 323 6458
Fax: +27 12 326 6218