By Roberto Bacalski, Program and Development Coordinator
The Diocese of Arlington has been present in Bánica since 1991. If you were to ask anyone who has ever visited the Bánica Mission why they think we are there, you will probably get various answers on the same theme: “Christ told us to help the poor.” “We are fulfilling Christ’s missionary mandate to baptize all nations.” In other words, Jesus told us to help the poor and to spread His Gospel. These two principles form the bedrock of everything we do in the missions. But there is a more specific reason why we are there at this moment in history. The bishops of the world reiterated those twin mandates of helping the poor and spreading the Gospel in a document known as Ad Gentes (‘To the Nations’).
Ad Gentes was the last document to be promulgated by the Second Vatican Council on December 7, 1965. It is also known by its official title, “Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity.” In this document is the Church’s foundational word on missionary work in the modern era. It was followed in 1975 by the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, (‘On Evangelization in the Modern World’), and the 1990 Encyclical by Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, (‘Mission of the Redeemer’). Starting next week we will be posting a series of reflections on this seminal series of documents delving deeper into their meaning for Bánica and the greater mission world. The full texts of the documents can be found at the links below. I hope you will join us on this spiritual journey into the roots of modern missionary activity.
The first reflection will be posted on Monday, June 18 with new reflections over the following weeks. Thank you for being our Partners in Mission!
Photo by Shana Siler