“Go throughout the world and preach the Gospel to all mankind” (MK 16:15).
Missionary evangelization is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world, a world which experienced marvellous achievements but it seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities and existence of itself (RM 2).The work of evangelisation from the part of a missionary involves an integral salvific value of striving after the holistic progress of the people whom the evangeliser comes in contact with. In the integral approach of evangelization, the centre is the person of Jesus and His values touching and transforming the lives of the people bringing about a genuine conversion. It is this conversion that transforms their vision of life and invites them to a comprehensive, liberating and salvific experience. Similarly any missionary endeavour will find its success and culmination only when and in so far as and as long as the evangelized in turn becomes the evangelizer of the other one. That is, the individuals, the families, the villages and a larger locality which received the blessings of evangelization must feel spontaneously inspired and motivated to share with other individuals, families and villages, their own salvific experience, the experience of God a saving love which transformed and enriched their lives (cf. SDC 76).
In the whole process of evangelization a point of paramount importance is the personal life witness of the evangelizer. There should be a perfect harmony between the message and the messenger. If not, it will not attain any goal. The real evangelization is a sharing of the evangelizer’s vision and life. It is a life giving sharing. The evangelizer follows Jesus who deeply rooted in Father’s love, reached out to the poor. For Jesus, it was the authenticity for his evangelization and the pervading theme of his message. His life has two poles, the abiding union with the Father and his mission for the people. In the same way we should nourish our relationship with Christ. Some of the best ways to grow closer to Christ are to be prayerful- being in constant contact with God, sacraments, Word of God, and perform active works of compassion. Let us see others, the way God sees us with true charity no matter how broken and sinful we are.
Looking at today’s world from the view point of evangelization we can distinguish three situations. First, there is a situation which the Church’s missionary activity addresses; peoples, groups and socio-cultural contexts in which Christ and his Gospel are not known. This is mission Ad Gentes (to the nations) in the proper sense of the term. Secondly, there are Christian communities with adequate and solid ecclesial structures. In these communities the Church carries out her activity and pastoral care. Thirdly, the situation where entire groups of the baptized have lost a living sense of faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel. In this case what is needed is a “new evangelization” or a “re-evangelization” (RM 33). Where ever possible, strive to make Jesus available
- Teach the Word of God and help them to assimilate (Lectio Divina).
- Dramatize the Bible events
- Conduct Bible quiz for different groups
- Reciting rosary in the month of May/October and the way of the Cross with the people in the villages
- Deepening the sacramental life specially on reconciliation and Holy Eucharist
- We strengthen our relationship (fellowship love) with our brethren specially on Sundays after the Holy Mass, as a celebration of the family get together
- In order to deepen our bond of love we invite our people in the villages to the convent at least once a year to celebrate any feast of ours
- All the members of our community go to the villages and celebrate one feast a year there with them
Every effort at evangelization in India has to consider the particular context of India. In evangelization a real interaction between the Gospel and the religious, cultural and socio–economic conditions of the people should take place. Hence, inculturation and dialogue are integral parts of evangelization.
As we live among the various sections of the people, we have to share their culture and life style and thus try to discern the seeds of the word hidden in them. Through sincere and sympathetic contact we act as the spring that makes the presence of the Church alive in them (SDC 102). Missionaries who came from other churches and countries must immerse themselves in the cultural milieu of those to whom they are sent, moving beyond their own cultural limitations. Hence they must learn the language of the place in which they work, become familiar with the most important expressions of the local culture and discover the values through direct experience. Only if they have this kind of awareness will they be able to bring to people the knowledge of the hidden mystery in a credible and fruitful way (Rm. 16:25-27; Eph 3:5).
It is not of course a matter of missionaries renouncing their own cultural identity, but of understanding, appreciating, fostering and evangelizing the culture of the environment in which they are working and therefore of equipping themselves to communicate effectively with it, adopting a manner of living which is a sign of gospel witness and of solidarity with the people (RM 53). A genuine inculturation will help one to live the radical nature of the Gospel according to the founder’s charism and the character of the people with whom they come in contact. A genuine inculturation requires attitudes similar to those of our Lord Jesus who emptied himself and became man. He lived as one among them in love and meekness. Applying themselves with these attitudes to study and understanding of other cultures one can better discern the real values in them, and the best way to accept them with the help of one’s charism.
Dialogue: While upholding our God-experience in Christ we have to recognize the possibility of having genuine God-experience for people of other religions also. This would make our approach humble and without any claim of superiority. A missionary in dialogue lives in good rapport with people around and is ready to help those who are distant, even if they are considered hostile and wicked.
The man of dialogue prays and in prayer develops the keen sense for God’s presence and love wherever he encounters it. We should be aware that other religious also have salvific values and God is present in them too.
- To deepen the spirituality of members by contemplating the Word of God especially the life and teachings of Christ
- To enable the members to grow in SD spirituality by studying the life and teachings of the founder, the pioneer members, saints and other great personalities
- To train visionary leaders both within the Congregation and outside
- To enkindle new fire of pluralistic spirituality by accepting, appreciating and promoting diversity both in the community and outside to respond to the new challenges
- To reach out to the new realms of the destitute such as women, victims of consumerist culture: Youth who need animation, the depressed and the lonely in the society and express solidarity with them
- Enable the sisters to develop critical analysis of the socio-political and cultural context of our country and of the world to explore innovative ways of entering into the mainstream of the society like “salt”.
- To equip the members with skills, knowledge and exposure to be effective in their mission
- To give integral education to the younger generation for making them responsible citizens and enlightened leaders to transform the society
- To promote holistic health care through hospitals and public health programmes
- To collaborate with the Church in the pastoral care of the people.
- Top priority shall be given to reflective study of Scripture, specially the NT
- Study of Church documents, Constitution of the SD, life and Teachings of the Founder, Charism of the Congregation, Life of pioneers , History, Heritage and other documents of the Congregation
- Developing personal spirituality by shifting focus from religiosity of routine rituals to spirituality of values of Christ
- Importance shall be given to the study of Indian Spirituality and eco spirituality
- In order to facilitate more interaction with people make our communities more open and our community time table more flexible
- Participation of the people in the locality is promoted in our ministries.
- The unique qualities, possibilities and capabilities of the sisters shall be explored and encouraged. Special training would be given to them for the effectiveness of the ministry
- Arrangement shall be made to study socio-political issues and social teachings of the Church
- Taking time to participate in the meetings, public functions and social events organized by the NGO’s and Government
- Explore the opportunities to net work and collaborate like-minded NGO’s, Government and private agencies and other organizations
- Quality shall not be compromised for quantity in recruitment and promotion of the candidates
- Mastery of the languages, both English and the local, shall be given priority from the initial stages of formation
- Members shall be given opportunity to participate in short training programmes and exposure at least once in three years
- Introduce participatory style in decision making and delegation of duties to all members as part of building leadership qualities
- Promoting the culture of life, senior citizens and ‘differently abled’ would be taken care of either in the existing institutions or in their own homes
- Setting up of senior citizens’ forum, senior citizens’ village etc. With the participation of the public to empower and channelize their energy for nation building
- Every member shall promote their personal vision, goals, and policies with reference to the vision of the Congregation
- Transparency and accountability shall be practiced at all levels
- Be prompt to express solidarity with people in times of tragedies and crisis
- Regular evaluation at all levels is done based on the vision, goals and policies
- Budget system shall be followed in management of finance and accounting at all levels
- Special care shall be taken to foster communion of members through encouragement and appreciation. Conflicts shall be solved through dialogue at the personal and community level
- Formation shall be contextualized through the study of various issues in the society, interaction with social activities and providing exposure to different situations