Friday, October 29, 2010

AFRICA: ZAMBIA: NATIONAL MISSIONARY CONGRESS

Agenzia Fides REPORT– First National Missionary Congress: “God's mission is our mission.”
Lusaka The local Church, in cooperation with the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Zambia and the religious institutes in the country, has organized the First Missionary Congress in Zambia, held October 13 to 16. According to reports sent to Fides by Fr. Bernard Makadani, National Director of the PMS in Zambia, the purpose of Congress was to "reflect on the Church's missionary experience over the course of these 119 years since the first missionaries arrived in Zambia, as well as on our reality and the challenges of today's mission.”“Around 80 priests, religious and lay faithful, met at the Christian Brothers’ Centre in Lusaka from the 13th to 16th October 2010 to reflect, celebrate and plan for the future of Mission in Zambia,” says Fr. Makadani.At the end of the encounter, a declaration was published reaffirming the missionary commitment of the local Church. “The Mission is first of all God’s Mission,” the document says. Then “God’s Mission becomes our Mission,” and thus, “the missionary torch has been handed over to us,” write the Congress participants.“We are challenged to be more rooted in our Catholic identity, through ongoing faith formation at all levels and an adequate catechesis leading to a personal encounter with Christ,” the document affirms. Catholics should become “authentic witnesses” of Christ, living their faith in communion, “like a family,” learning to “read the signs of the times.”The Congress participants have determined various challenges to the mission: the change of religious context, which becomes more pluralistic; the social-economic context changes, “with its positive and negative developments,” that require greater teaching of the Church's Social Doctine; and social changes, whose “rapid changes and outside influences bring about a confusion of values.”

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