The 4th National Missionary Congress of Brazil was organized by the Pontifical Mission Societies, the Episcopal Commission for missionary animation and the dioceses of Olinda and Recife focused on the theme: “The Joy of the Gospel for a Church which goes forth”. It was held in the city of Recife from 7th to 10th September and more than 700 delegates participated from all over the regions of Brazil.
The Congress was an encounter in which the brothers and sisters who shared their faith, their struggles and desires, dreams and hopes. During those days, we perceived the action of the Holy Spirit, the protagonist of the mission. It spurred us to be a missionary. It urged in us the inner conviction that to be a missionary is a grace as well as a responsibility.
In line with the martyrs and the prophets the example of Msgr. Helder Câmara whose words and actions have helped us to gaze to pay our attention over Brazil immersed in a crisis which affected many of our brothers and sisters who become more poorer and are excluded. We felt to condemn the reinforcement of neoliberal policies that violates the acquired rights and worsens the situation of those people living in the geographical and existential peripheries. We are annoyed in front of the destruction of the Amazon and its nature. The violence that taking place in and around the place annihilates the lives of so many courageous leaders. However, this reality does not bring us down explicitly. On the contrary, it is a radical challenge to a missionary action, that is even more vigorous, transforming and a bearer of freedom.
We are provoked by the light of the Word of God, by the Church’s documents and by the words and gestures of Pope Francis, an authentic missionary prophet who animates us in our journey. It invites us to go out of ourselves and from our land to remove our sandals to enter into the holy ground of the other as guests here and beyond the frontiers. In our mission, the witness and the propheticism of so many women and men give us courage. Those men and women who have found their real joy in the Gospel which is shared genuinely with the poor, the “beloved ones” of God.
The commitments are assumed by the participants during the Congress are emphasized as:
- The importance of children, adolescents and young people are the protagonists of the mission, wherever they are.
- The vocation of the laity as subjects in the mission of the Church.
- The testimony of consecrated persons, seminarians, and ordained ministers that they may assume increasingly the mission as an answer to the Divine call.
Guided by the Triune God, we are moved to live out our vocation in accordance with the synod which goes forth to evangelise the joy of the Gospel to all human race. In fact, a missionary cannot ignore an attitude of listening. The missionary formation is therefore indispensable and mandatory which nurtures spirituality, creates the culture of the mission and contributes to ensure that all the baptized consider their own missionary vocation. What is now engraved in our hearts can be repeated explicitly in the axiom: “Everything with the mission, nothing without the mission”.
Mary our Mother and sister in the faith, the first disciple of Jesus who received the Word of God, has accompanied us ever since the beginning of the important event of the Brazilian Church. May she intercede for all of us and sow the seed of mission in the heart of each participant that the Kingdom of God may so that the Kingdom of God may grow more and more in their lives.
Sr. Valéria Opreni (North Brasil – Amazzonia)