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The Missionology Symposium “Baptised and sent in a time of great change” was held on the theme of “The theological comprehension of the mission in today’s times” in Santiago, Chile from 6th to 8th August, 2019 at the Pontifical Seminary, San Rafael. Thirty-two participants from 15 of the country’s 26 dioceses took part. During the Symposium 3 topics were explored in-depth: discerning our time; illuminating the path; new perspectives for the mission in Chile. The participants were invited to reflect upon each theme by a facilitator.
In exploring the first topic, an overview of the socio-cultural and religious realities of Chilean and Latin-American society was given during a talk by Justino Gomez de Benito, sociologist. Discerning means looking at the reality of the changes, an exercise necessary to understand our times, decipher the signs and find ways of evangelization which answer these new challenges, including also how important dialogue is with the new interlocutors of these times.
Regarding the second point, illuminating the path, Fr. Leonardo Rodriguez, PMS National Director in Uruguay and PMS Coordinator for America, illustrated the richness of the missionological magisterium of the Church and the journey undertaken by the Latin-American Church through general conferences and the Latin-American and American missionary congresses. Fr. Rodriguez concluded his thoughts by presenting the three main lines of Pope Francis’ missionological thoughts and the challenges of this new evangelizing phase. Lastly, concerning “the new horizons for the mission in Chile”, Fr. Ronald Flores, missiologist of the Pontifical Urbaniana University, helped the participants seek new perspectives and challenges. The Church in Chile has slowly received the missio ad gentes and the participants understood the necessity for a more systematic and permanent formation for an in-depth theological study of the missionary identity of the discipleship. There was a positive evaluation of the understanding of the mission as: meeting and active listening of the human situation in varying environments; an intercultural, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue for the reality of increasingly multi-cultural and multi-religious societies; a commitment towards a mission of a more joyous, proclaiming and kerygmatic announcement of the Gospel; a mission that is prophetic, as it involves a commitment towards the world; service to the Kingdom and to its justness, embracing the cry of the poor and excluded. A mission that is universal does not belong to few but belongs to the People of God with its rich diversity of charisms and ministries, on a journey shared by all (synodality) who live in this common home.