Friday, June 22, 2012

The Documents of Vatican II – Ad Gentes Divinitus – Part 2

In the second half of Ad Gentes Divinitus, the Vatican II Fathers focus on missionaries, the organization of missionary activities, and cooperation among the various members of the Church.

Here are a few of the topics and ideas you'll find in the second half of Ad Gentes Divinitus.

Chapter IV – Missionaries

* Some Christians receive a special call to the missionary vocation. These Christians are sent forth by the Church “in faith and obedience” to spread the Gospel.

* Missionary work requires a great self-gift. The missionary surrenders himself or herself to God and makes a firm commitment to carry out God's work faithfully.

* Missionaries proclaim the mystery of Christ in love, humility, and obedience. They witness to the Lord with courage even in “the midst of great affliction and abject poverty” and even “to the shedding of blood.”

* Missionaries should be carefully formed spiritually and morally that they might be able to withstand the hardships of mission life through prayer, hope, and a “spirit of sacrifice.”

* Missionaries must also be carefully trained in the Scriptures and Catholic doctrine as well as missiological studies and the history, language, and culture of the people they serve.

* Missionary institutes should work together to provide training and assistance to missionaries.

Chapter V – The Organization of Missionary Activity

* God has given Christians different gifts, so they must “collaborate in the work of the Gospel, each according to his opportunity, ability, charism and ministry” in order to build up the Church and spread the Word of God.

* Missionary activity should be coordinated in an organized and orderly fashion.

* The bishops take primary responsibility for preaching the Gospel and, therefore, for missionary work. They promote, guide, and coordinate missionary activity.

* The Vatican Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith directs and promotes mission activity at the level of the Holy See. The Pope exercises “supreme control over all missionary work.”

* Consultants and experts help bishops and the Congregation through their “learning and experience” in the mission field.

* If missionaries and those in charge of missionary activities are to meet their goals, they must be united and cooperate in training and problem solving.

Chapter VI – Cooperation

* The Church is missionary, and evangelization is the “fundamental task of the people of God.”

* Every member of the Church must undertake a “profound interior renewal” and be conscious of his or her obligation to spread the Gospel and support missionary activity.

* The primary contributions all Christians can make to the missions are “to lead a profound Christian life” of service, love, and witness; to pray; to do penance; to educate themselves about the missions; and to open their hearts if called to a mission vocation.

* The Church's unity and love bears witness to Christ before all people.

* The bishops work in communion and cooperation with one another to meet the needs of the missions through prayer, penance, and promotion of vocations and missionary works.

* Priests share in the bishops' work, promoting zeal for the missions among their parishioners and contributing to the spread of the Gospel as much as possible.

* Professors, too, should raise awareness about the missions.

* Religious institutes must, at the very least, pray vigorously for the success of the missions. Those that are contemplative should offer their prayers and witness. Those that are active should consider providing more human and monetary resources.

* Lay people are called to witness to Christ in word and deed in the world. They should learn about and love the missions and support and promote them in any way possible, especially by offering monetary aid and being open to the call for a missionary vocation.

* Lay people who choose to be active in the mission field should be well trained doctrinally and spiritually.


* The Church must spread the kingdom of God throughout the earth.

* The Council Fathers pray especially for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary that all nations may be led “to the knowledge of the truth...and that the glory of God, which shines in the face of Jesus Christ, might shed its light on all men through the Holy Spirit.”

The full text of Ad Gentes Divinitus is available online at the Vatican website.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the great work you are doing Amy. I was also a graduate from FUS