he Harvest is Great

Assisi (Italy). From August 24 to 27, 2017 at Domus Pacis in Assisi, the 15th Edition of the National Days of Missionary Formation and Spirituality took place. This event was promoted by the National Office for Missionary Cooperation among the Churches of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI). There were about two hundred participants: priests, religious, laity, and many young people representing the Italian Dioceses, Organizations, and Religious Institutes.

The objective of the days was that of forming those who deal with the Mission ad Gentes. The days were also in preparation for the opening of the pastoral year and an anticipation of the theme of World Missionary Day (for the Churches of Italy) planned for October: The Harvest is Great.

To develop the theme: The harvest is great…but what do we see? The days offered some provoking questions: “silence or noise?”; “deserts or fields of grain?”; “few or many?”; “for many or for all?”

The golden thread of the days was the Word of God with Lectio guided by the biblist, Luke Moscatelli of Milan. These days were the occasion for study and for dialog beginning with God’s Word that returns as the center and inspiring source of every mission.

The focus was on changing perspective, changing the quality of our gaze on reality. It is necessary for missionaries to purify and heal their vision in order to look at the world with the same gaze of Jesus. In order to act as real missionaries, it is necessary to look more at the harvests than at the lack of workers. Even if workers are missing, the harvest is what counts and is more important than the workers because it is plentiful and full of promise. The fruit is there; the hope for new seeds of life and of faith guides the action of every missionary. The proclamation of the Kingdom is for everyone.

The relators presented the themes of the missionary reality using different approaches: Gabriella Caramore, essayist: “If only all the people of the LORD were prophets! (Nm 11: 29)…Fragments of Prophecy in the Contemporary World; Msgr. Daniele Gianotti, Bishop of Crema: Prophetic Gazes on Reality. What does a pastor see?; Msgr. Gianluca Carrega, Responsible for Cultural Pastoral for the Turin Archdiocese: “An ever new Gaze…Scripture, Reading, ‘Fiction’”; Glenda Franchin, Philosopher and Anthropologist: Prophetic Gazes on Reality…What does a philosopher see?”

The dialog in assembly helped to broaden vision, inviting the participants to assume a new attitude to the mission with greater awareness. Times of special involvement were the workshops in which the participants shared the Word of God and together sought to “renew their gaze” in the light of the key words: creation, election, prophecy, salvation, mercy, and truth.

Participating in these days was the collaborator of the Missions Sector, Sr. Maike Loes, as a sign of charismatic fidelity and of participation in the life of the local Church. It was the occasion to listen to different voices and receive as a gift, the mission so many religious and lay people carry out in the dioceses and in the local communities. The theme is a challenge and an opportunity for the animation of the Sector that, in synergy with the journey traced out by General Chapter XXIII, seeks to involve the Provinces “in broadening their vision to be with the young missionaries of hope and of joy.

The Sector for the Mission ad Gentes looks at the mission with a renewed and broadened vision, focusing attention more on the harvest than on the lack of workers, and being grateful for the 13 new missionaries who arrived in Rome to prepare for the Mission ad Gentes during the 2017-2018 year as well as thanking the Provinces for having shared with the Institute the gift of a missionary vocation ad gentes.

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