The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: Forming Missionary Disciples as Prophets and Witnesses

Authored by Scott Elmer in Issue #10.1 of Catechetical Review

In 2017, the bishops of the United States held a convocation focused on unpacking and applying Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”). It was a beautiful moment of solidarity around the essential mission of the Church. Throughout the convocation, the bishops often repeated the mantra “We all are missionary disciples!” That phrase certainly echoes Pope Francis’ words in Evangelii Gaudium, “In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples,” but it also reflects a desire in the American episcopate for the faithful to embrace the mission of evangelization and live out their identity as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.[1]

This expressed desire has inspired many efforts to form evangelizers and missionary disciples at the diocesan, parochial, movement, and apostolate levels. These formation opportunities have helped the Church ask more specific questions, such as: What does a missionary disciple need to know? What skills are necessary for missionary discipleship? Given the wide array of pastoral gifts, abilities, and methods, are some more pertinent or necessary than others? How long does it take to form a missionary disciple? These questions are all relevant, even important. But in forming a missionary disciple, there is one key question: how does baptism make one a missionary disciple? Understanding the answer to this question helps catechists and leaders to approach formation from a position of collaboration with what God is already doing rather than what we hope he wants to do.

 

Notes


[1] Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 120.

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This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting [email protected]

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