The Metropolitan Mission for a new evangelisation of Europe

Source: FSSPX News

On July 12, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, announced on Vatican Radio a pastoral initiative by his dicastery for next Lent:  the Metropolitan Mission, the result of a meeting held on July 11 with the Archbishops of Barcelona, Budapest, Brussels, Cologne, Dublin, Lisbon, Liverpool, Paris, Turin, Vienna and Warsaw.  This mission, which initially will be dedicated to Europe, will adopt a common pastoral program, chiefly centered on the “formation” of these eleven dioceses.

In an article published in L’Osservatore romano that same day, the Italian prelate explained the purpose of this new mission:  “to give a sign of unity among the diverse dioceses present in the largest European cities that have been particularly affected by secularization”.  The project is then supposed to extend beyond the frontiers of the Old World, “in ways that respect the different cultural and ecclesial traditions”, Archbishop Fisichella made sure to note.

“The choice of Europe was determined by the fact that two Synods have reflected on the current situation there.  In 1991 and 1991 the bishops frankly analyzed not only the social and cultural conditions in these countries, but above all the extent to which the Church would be able to give a suitable response.  With [the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation] Ecclesia in Europa, John Paul II indicated a way of rediscovering a unified commitment of the Churches.”

The Metropolitan Mission is meant to be “a first step” in this new evangelization that will find its place “within the ordinary pastoral ministry with a specific commitment to formation during Lent of 2012”.  The prelate in charge of the new evangelization noted that “these initiatives will start from the cathedral, for the purpose of extending into the parishes of the diocese for more direct, on-site activity.”

The cathedral will be “the central place” for this mission, which will entail “first of all the continuous reading of the Gospels so as to put the Word of God at the center, then three catecheses by the bishop on major themes of the faith intended for young people, families and catechumens”.  Special attention will be paid to Confession and, more specifically, to its “great anthropological value”, Archbishop Fisichella declared.  “A charitable gesture” will be associated with the mission “to recall that the faith which is professed and prayed must also be witnessed to”.  Finally, the reading of certain spiritual works such as the Confessions of St. Augustine will complete the mission.

Will history compare the Metropolitan Mission to the missions in seventeenth-century France which endeavored to rebuild dioceses that had been ravaged by the wars of religion, for example those of Saint John Eudes and his confreres, who preached, visited the sick, and catechized the children and many adults?  During his missions St. John Eudes often observed the lack of spiritual and pastoral formation of the priests themselves.  And so, starting in 1641, he used to meet with the clergy separately during the mission.  An example to be followed.  (Sources: VIS/apic/imedia/eudistes - DICI no. 239 dated August 13, 2011)