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PONTIFICIUM OPUS A SANCTA INFANTIA

 

MISSIONARY PASTORAL CARE WITH CHILDREN

 

         It is Jesus himself who has called us: "Come and follow me", "friends", "Go and evangelize all peoples" (Mt. 28:19). We hope that we will be his disciples and that we will make disciples for him. This is what the children of Missionary Childhood propose: "to be friends of Jesus and to make friends for Jesus".

         Missionary Childhood aims to succeed in making children carry out their local and universal mission adequately. In this missionary pastoral care, we not only become missionaries but we help others to be missionaries. We propose "to be" Jesus' disciples, "to make disciples" for Jesus, and to help so that "they will make" more disciples for Him. For this reason, this missionary pastoral care must have a real priority in the diocesan and parish pastoral program (RM 83).

         Missionary Childhood is really the principal Society of the universal Church and of each particular Church for the missionary pastoral care of children.

         This missionary service is carried out through the protagonist role of the children themselves. Jesus himself is the one who has given them a very important mission in the Church and in the world. They themselves have to carry it out by evangelizing themselves and evangelizing. The children are certainly receivers of missionary pastoral care; however, first of all they are its protagonists. For this reason, missionary pastoral care will always have to be "with" the children.

         A Missionary Pastoral Care with children requires providing services in four areas that are complementary to one another:

1. Missionary Animation: 
In order to awaken, enliven and support the universal missionary spirit in children. The means generally used are: prayer, missionary information, missionary motivation, the association of children and their missionary accompaniment.

2. Missionary Formation: 
In order to help children to follow the "School with Jesus" and thus have missionary criteria and mentality, like their Teacher's. This includes with regard to content and activities: catechesis and theology of the mission, missionary spirituality, missionary methodology and practice.

3. Missionary Communion and Organization: 
In order to promote missionary communion among the children. The organization will help to use the available resources adequately for their missionary service and to integrate well the services by the children and their animators into the ecclesial communion.

4. Missionary Cooperation: 
In order to help each child to make his or her missionary contributions to the local community and in favor of universal evangelization, especially for the children in "the 'ad gentes' mission".

         In this way, through this missionary animation, formation, communion and cooperation, Missionary Childhood helps each child to be a missionary in his/her family, school, community and for the whole world. By serving children in the four areas, Missionary Childhood fulfills its principal objective which is children's missionary education, and it also succeeds in promoting their growing universal missionary cooperation.

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