We are nearing the end of 2021. The pandemic keeps limiting our actions but at the same time invites us to discover new ways in reaching out to our SEDOS Members and all those interested – and active – in Mission.
In the former SEDOS Bulletin we have shared the summary of the many-fold talks given SEDOS Mission Symposium in which we discerned four topics that typify the current trends in Mission: Synodality – Human Dignity – Christ-connectedness – Wholeness. In this issue, we take up the topic of Respect for Human Dignity from different angles.
First, there is the Message of his Holiness Pope Francis for the success of the Symposium, and in which he gives his Apostolic Blessing to all our Missionaries in the field. The letter arrived late at our office, but nevertheless remains of great value to us. Interesting in this letter is that he stresses that we should bring the Gospel message without imposing fixed cultural forms. This is a clear message against the old colonial way of doing mission by bringing Western culture as the ideal form in which to live one’s faith.
The first article of Fr. Christian Tauchner, SVD, conveys in an academic-missiological way the same message. He makes clear that before we can really do mission we have to know the person and his/her culture. Therefore, mission should go hand in hand with anthropology. Respect for a person’s culture helps in bringing the Gospel values and is part of this respect for Human Dignity.
Further, Sr. Francisca Eniye Agho, SSH, reflects on the difficulty people experience in their home country when they were not successful in emigrating. The reintegration of returnees is a challenge for the person as well as for the society and the Church. What seems to be simple, because it is a person’s own culture, is not always that simple. It is a challenge also for the Catholic Church in the place. The author defines some of the difficulties in the case of Benin City in Nigeria, and gives some answers to it.
Another problem caused by the present wave of migration is the food shortage. Sr. Soosai Antony Vijilidali explains to us how her Congregation of the Daughters of Mary, DMI, are helping out on this level in South Sudan.
Fr. Samir García Valenca, from the diocese of Istmina – Tadó in Colombia, paints for us the present situation of the Church in Latin-America, a “Church on the Move”.
The last two contributions are meditative articles to be read in this Christmas season: one on the Our Father in the context of Fratelli Tutti, by Fr. Jacob Kavunkal, SVD, and one on the Magnificat of Maria, by Fr. James Kroeger, MM.
We add here a joyous representation of Pope Francis by Koen Van Loocke, a gifted and devout Belgian artist (Kerknet Vlaanderen).