The Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentino presents its Missionary Action Project
The Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentine has just presented its Missionary Action Project 2020-2022, a document which intends to mark the guidelines, objectives, means and those responsible in the missionary action of the Province especially in the Prelature of Lábrea (Amazonas, Brazil).
The Augustinian Recollect José Alberto Moreno (Arnedo, La Rioja, Spain, 1973), who is part of the Commission of Social Apostolate and the Missions Section of the Province’s Pastoral Secretariat, has been responsible for coordinating its elaboration, in which religious and lay people have actively participated.
In an interview he was asked about the main aspects of this document.
What were the reasons for creating this document?
The Life and Mission Project of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (D.2) and that of the Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentine (IV.23) requested the Missions Secretariat to develop this Missionary Action Project before December 2019.
The document was completed on time but needed to be translated and approval but with the pandemic, it was finally approved this past April.
The document starts by presenting the Order’s statutes for the missions and aims to offer guidelines for the organization of the missionary apostolate in the Province. We see that it can be easily applied to promote the task of evangelizing with the touch of our Recollect Family’s charism.
What content do we find in this Missionary Action Project?
We focus on the missionary work the Order does in Labrea, in the southwest of the State of the Amazon, Brazil.
You will find the objectives for any missionary apostolate, a historical overview of the mission, a social, religious and pastoral diagnosis of the municipalities of the region where the Recollects are present with it’s specific challenges and urgent tasks that need to be done.
From this analysis, a general plan of the mission and the framework project of missionary actions areoffered in a concrete manner: lines of action, objectives, goals, programming, and a final evaluation.
A somewhat more extensive side document also presents a brief description of the missionary work the Order is doing in Asia, but due to its special circumstances it is impossible to develop an organic project as of today.
I would like to stress that it was not a document done in an office or a meeting room, it was developed with the collaboration of many of the on site missionaries. The document had to be revised repeated times by many specialists that’s why it has been a complex project done as a missionary team.
The Secretariat developed the first stage of the process that took us to this final document back in January 2019 during the Assembly which brings together all the religious of the Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentine in the country, including those working in the Brazilian states of Amazonas and Ceará, where the main missionary and social centers are located.
One of the team members was asked to encourage all the Recollect friars in the country to participating by sending their main worries and other suggestions for the mission. Out of those contributions, the first draft was made and sentto the Provincial Secretariat for review. The revised document was studied and enriched at the 2020 Brazilian Delegation Assembly and sent again to the Provincial Secretariat of Missions and the Province's Committee on Communications and Publications for editing and formatting.
In addition, the provincial prior, Sergio Sánchez,, wanted to participate in an active way by writing an introduction and conclusion for the document, as well as some reference notes for the extensive internal document that was mentioned earlier.
What main sources have been taken into account?
After a long study and drafting process, a final comprehensive document has been presented as a pastoral and evangelization guide for the missions. Three aspects are considered: The Order of Augustinian Recollects; the Church Guidelines in Brazil, and the recent Synod on the Amazon held in Rome in October 2019.
These three aspects of reflection and study on the Amazon lead to two well-defined lines of pastoral action:
- The experience of permanent mission, giving priority to those who are excluded;
- The implementation of a process in Christian initiation with an Amazonian face without forgetting our service for integral ecology.
What concrete goals do you want to achieve?
From the general objectives, eight specific objectives are presented together with their goals, actions, programming and evaluation indicators turning this document into a true compass and a trunk full of well-structured ideas for action to achieve its objectives.
Here’s a quick summary of goals and objectives:
— Objective 1 • Improve the functioning and impact of the Indigenous Pastoral (CIMI) and the Pastoral ofthe Earth(CPT) and, in the long term, form teams in all parishes.
- Goal 1.1. Empower river villages and indigenous leaders.
- Goal 1.2. Reduce the internal migration of leaders from the rural area to cities in search of work and/or studies.
— Objective 2 • Improve the functioning and impact of the Hope Centres (CEs).
- Goal 2.1. Unify methodology and management of the three CEs..
- Target 2.2. Ensure the sustainability of CEs..
- Target 2.3. Increase funding sources.
a — Objective 3 • Train and incentivize the basic ecclesial communities (CEBs)) to evangelize where it ismost needed.
- Goal 3.1. Form small missionary ecclesial communities with priority choice for the poor.
- Goal 3.2. Ensure human, solidarity CEBs with a sense of belonging, coexistence, cooperation andgroup commitment.
- Goal 3.3. Design ecclesial actions in small communities.
a — Objective 4 • Support, encourage and accompany popular ecclesial movements. .
- Goal 4.1. Facilitate the processes to establish Neighborhood Residents' Associations.
— Objective 5 • To train leaders and lay agents as protagonists of social transformation.
- Target 5.1. Train lay agents to respond to all the needs of your community.
- Target 5.2. Strengthen the structures for communion and participation in parishes.
— Objective 6 • Form and work for a comprehensive ecology .
- Target 6.1. Awareness of the environment and integral ecology.
- Target 6.2. Ensure the sustainability of the Prelature's infrastructures.
- Target 6.3. Train trainers in integral ecology.
— Objective 7 • Ensure the implementation in parishes of the process of initiation to Christian life. .
- Target 7.1. Formation on initiation to Christian life as a cross-cutting axis.
- Target 7.2. Ensure resources for initiation itineraries.
- Target 7.3. Ensure resources for liturgical celebrations with Amazonian face.
— Objective 8 • Initial training for the new missionaries of the Prelature.
- Target 8.1. Curso CENFI course in Brasilia.
- Target 8.2. Know the methodology of the pastoral care of the Prelature of Labrea.
- Target 8.3. Northwest Regional Course in Porto Velho,, Rondania..
What will happen after the document is published?
The most complicated and yet most exciting stage must start and that is to roll up our sleeves and get to work to achieve all the objectives turning the ideas into a reality.
Let me conclude by saying that the main protagonists in this project are the laity with the support and encouragement of the religious missionaries.