Apostolic activity

From Vincentian Encyclopedia

CHAPTER I. APOSTOLIC ACTIVITY (C 10-18)

S.1. -- We are gradually to withdraw from those apostolic works which, after due reflection, no longer seem to correspond to the vocation of the Congregation at the present time.

S.2.--In the modern world, atheism and materialism strongly challenge the faith and the traditional methods of evangelizing. Therefore, members should carefully study the causes of this phenomenon, realizing that in this situation they are called upon to give witness to a stronger personal faith in the living God and also to seek out new ways of fulfilling their vocation to evangelize.

S.3.--In apostolic initiatives, provinces and individual houses should willingly work in fraternal cooperation with each other, with the diocesan clergy, with religious institutes, and with the laity.

S.4.--Members should seek ecumenical dialogue; but they should also actively participate in religious, social, and cultural affairs with Christians and non--Christians.

S.5.--In regard to the work of the foreign missions, the following norms should be observed: 1E in a spirit of co-responsibility, provinces, whether on their own initiative or at the invitation of the Superior General, should give mutual assistance; 2E individual provinces, or several provinces together, should take on at least one mission ter-ritory to which they send members as workers in the Lord's harvest; 3E members should be offered the possibility of helping the work of the missions in a practical way, even to the extent of volunteering to undertake the work of evangelization there; 4E members should be urged to share in the universal and local Church's promotional work for the missions. The promotional work for the Congregation's own missions should be properly organized.

S.6.--Those sent to the foreign missions should be carefully prepared to undertake the special works there by knowledge of the reality of the region where they will labor, so that the pastoral work which they take on may effectively meet the needs of the local Church.

S.7.--'1.--Lay associations founded by St. Vincent and those which are inspired by his spirit should be of special concern to our members, since they have the right to our presence and to our support. '2.--Although all members should be willing to undertake this work, it is necessary for some to be more skilled in it. '3.--It is important that this animation have a spiritual, ecclesial, social, and civic dimension.

S.8.--Inter-provincial meetings should be fostered for the purpose of deepening our knowledge of the vocation of missioners and of those pastoral methods which more effectively meet the actual conditions and changes of situations and people.

S.9.--'1.--It pertains to provinces, according to circumstances, to establish norms governing social action, and to determine concrete means for hastening the coming of social justice. '2.--Members should also, according to circumstances of time and place, cooperate with associations that are concerned with the defense of human rights and the promotion of justice and peace.

S.10.--'1.--Parishes are included among the apostolic works of the Congregation, provided that the apostolate which the members exercise there is in accord with the purpose and nature of our In-stitute, and provided also that the small number of pastors requires it. '2.--These parishes of the Congregation should consist, for the most part, of the really poor, or should be attached to seminaries where confreres give pastoral formation.

S.11.--'1.--Recognizing the great importance of education for both youth and adults, members should take up this work of teaching and educating where it is needed to achieve the purpose of the Congregation. '2.--This work should be carried out, however, not only in schools of various kinds, but also within the family circle, in places of work, and across the whole spectrum of society, wherever young people and adults spend their time. '3.--Schools, colleges, and universities should, according to local circumstances, admit, and promote the development of the poor. All the students, however, should be imbued with a sensitivity for the poor, according to the spirit of our Founder, while the confreres affirm the value of Christian education and provide a Christian social formation.

S.12.--Among the means to be used by the Congregation in its work of evangelization, a suitable place should be given to technical media of social communication, with the purpose of spreading the word of salvation more widely and more effectively.