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Dámaso Zuazua, ocd, General Secretary for Missions

Meeting of the missionary animators or zealators Amorebieta-Larrea Centre of Spirituality
(Navare Province, Spain)

- February 26 - March 1, 2007 -


José Manuel Madruga Salvador
Editor of the reviewMisiones Extranjeras”, Madrid

Larrea: Casa de Epiritualidad


Introduction: The present day changes due to globalization, multiculturalism, the movement of migrants, and the new religious frontiers require us to reflect on mission and to place it within a broad theological framework.


1.            The need to place mission within a broad theological framework which considers mission as part of God’s plan of salvation; those responsible for mission; Jesus as sent by the Father; Easter as an event that brings us together; the church, born at Pentencost, as being sent.

2.            What is understood by mission in “ad gentes”?  Development of the reality and the concept.  The term describes the missionary activity in human enviroments which have not yet known Christ and which do not have a mature christian community.  The traditional termmissionwas inadeguate because it did not take into account the development of the “missionsinto dioceses which then had responsibility, even missionary; and, also, because the concept described just a small section of the Church as missionary.

3.            Historical models of mission. The church is of its very nature missionary, and over the years has used different models highlighting different images of church. Thus we encounter mission modelled on the Church as the Easter-Pentecost mystery, on the church of martyrs, as christianized, as mission fulfilled, the model of “contra gentes” , and “ad gentes”, a history of salvation model, and “inter gentes”.

4.            Tensions due to change in paradigm. Every model refers to a specific missionary theology.  The modern changes require a new style of mission based on the centrality of mission, the widening of social factors, the soteriological unprepared, and openness to the spirit.

5.            Articulation of the new missionary paradigm. There are many dimensions of mission. We shall mention four, which, viewed together, constitute something new.  They are: mission as communion among the churches, mission for the enviroment, mission based on poverty and injustice and the proclamation of inter-religious dialogue.

6.            The transformation of situations and concepts. The church’s mission is to be understood from the starting point of  God’s mission, which it is called to serve, always attentive to the signs of the times, in particular to the changes in the way we see the world, to religious geography, and to missionary institutues.

7.            The need to redraw the church in the light of mission. If to the changes already refered to, we add the needs of the mission, we find ourselves having to redraw the actual image of the churchHere are a few lines of approach which change the image of church: from colonial to fraternal, from clerical to lay, from rural to urban, from catechumenal to adult, from dependent to self-sufficient, from dogmatic to dialogue and encounter.

8.            The challenges of the new universality The entire human race is beginning to live a new universality and is establishing a new structure of religious phenomenon. Among the challenges there emerges: the phenomenon of globalization that needs to be evangelized, the new religious map of humanity and the gradual de-christianization of Europe. The entire People of God, therefore, must become responsible for mission.


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Updated 24 mar 2007  by OCD General House
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