ASSUMPTIONISTS IN PARISH MINISTRY: THE REASONS FOR THIS OPTION
"Our spiritual life, our very religious substance, our reason for being Augustinians of the Assumption is found in our motto: ADVENIAT REGNUM TUUM. The coming of the kingdom of God in our hearts [and] in the world... what is more simple! What is more vulgar, if I daresay, than this form of loving God... If, to this main love, you add the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Holy Virgin His Mother and the Church His spouse, you will know under its most succinct expression the spirit of the Assumption." (Emmanuel d'Alzon, "Closing Address to the General Chapter", 1868, in Foundational Documents, p.78).
Our motto "ADVENIAT REGNUM TUUM" in ourselves and. around us is the basis of our apostolic involvement in the world, "this world that God loved so much that he sent his only-begotten Son... not to condemn the world, but that through Him the world be saved" (John 3:16-17).
At the start of this 21st century, in the world in which we live, we are aware of rapid evolutions, deep changes that shape the ways of thinking and behaviors of everyone: children, adolescents, and adults (see Vat. II, gaudium et Spes, #40-#45). These changes have both positive and negative aspects. Among others, they include:
- the profound transformation of the structure of the family,
- the increased importance given to the person and to freedom,
- the insistence on justice and human rights,
- ethical questions regarding the beginning and the end of life,
- technological advances that facilitate communication,
- globalization and international solidarity,
- the growing wealth of some and the increased poverty of others,
- the dechristianisation of our societies and secularism,
- the multiplication of sects and evangelical groups,
- the continued strength of popular religiosity and devotion to regional saints, the popularity of pilgrimages, of shrines and chapels,
- a decrease in vocations to religious life as well as priestly life.
Whether they be universal or proper to each country, these changes represent challenges and call for a response on our part. In order to respond, Assumptionists are guided by the Word of God and by the Church's mission in the world:
- To proclaim the Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world,
- To celebrate the sacraments and liturgical life
- To serve in charity and promote human life.
This mission was conferred by the Father to his Son; Luke describes its program in the following terms:
The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord's year of favor. He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, "This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen" (Luke 4:18-22).
For His part, the Son entrusts this mission to the Church with these words: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time" (Mt. 45:18-20).
As the Vatican Council reminds us, in the spirit of Saint Paul, this mission is not only reserved to the pastors; it is the work of all those who are baptized. (Apostolicam actuositatem; Lumen Gentium, #30-#38; Christifideles Laici, #27).
The parish, as a community of believers who witness to Christ in the world, is one of the places where this fundamental reality of the Church, the Body of Christ, takes flesh and becomes visible in the midst of the world?, oftentimes looking and sounding differently according to the cultures and traditions proper to each country: "Parish community", "Christian community", "Community made up of communities", Family of God", Family of families", "People of God"...
In this way, being faithful to the broad apostolic vision of our Founder, our involvement in parishes should be seen. as part of this mission of the Church (Cf. Vita Consecrata, 78), received from Christ, that is to say "to assemble all women and men into the People of God: by proclaiming "the Kingdom of God in us and around us"(1 Corinthians 12:4-29; Sacrosanctum Concilium, #42; Christifideles Laici, #26. a Rule of Life, #1 & # 13). the Kingdom of prophets priests and kings. However, faithful to the intuition of the founder, the Assumptionists will always have, even in a parish, a broad heart and eyes open to the works of evangelization that are often overlooked or unusual in the local church, for example:
- working with young people,
- apostolates that favor dialogue with other Christians and other religions,
- missionary apostolates or the evangelization of those who are far from the parish community or do not know Jesus-Christ,
- a mission in a difficult social context (for example, among immigrants. "squatters" or streetchildren)...(Fr. Richard Lamoureux, A Prophetic Power, op.cit, p. 16. 12)