people who wish to share their joy, who point to
a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a
delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that
the Church grows, but âby attractionâ.
John Paul II asked us to recognize that âthere
must be no lessening of the impetus to preach
the Gospelâ to those who are far from Christ,
âbecause this is the first task of the Churchâ.
Indeed, âtoday missionary activity still represents
the greatest challenge for the Churchâ
missionary task must remain foremostâ.
would happen if we were to take these words
seriously? We would realize that missionary
paradigmatic for all the Churchâs activi-
. Along these lines the Latin American bish-
ops stated that we âcannot passively and calmly
wait in our church buildingsâ;
we need to move
âfrom a pastoral ministry of mere conservation
to a decidedly missionary pastoral ministryâ.
This task continues to be a source of immense
joy for the Church: âJust so, I tell you, there will
be more joy in heaven over one sinner who re-
pents than ninety-nine righteous persons who
need no repentanceâ (
XVI, Homily at Mass for the Opening of the
Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean
Bishops (13 May 2007), Aparecida, Brazil: AAS 99 (2007), 437.
(7 December 1990),
34: AAS 83 (1991), 280.
40: AAS 83 (1991), 287.
86: AAS 83 (1991), 333.
, 29 June 2007, 548.