(CCCB – Ottawa)... The Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has released a new document entitled "The Missionary Dynamic of the Parish Today". Written from the current Canadian context, the text emphasizes that "spreading faith in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of humanity, is the Church's fundamental and primary mission" (no. 1). The reflection is primarily for pastors and those who serve in parishes, but also for all Catholics who wish to understand better the role of the parish in the Church's mission. The Commission notes that "it is through the parish that most Canadians experience the Catholic Church."
The Bishops of the Commission are aware of the diversity of parish realities across the country, as well as the common challenges they face. The response required to these varied challenges, however, is the same: being missionary parishes which evangelize. The text explains how Canadian parishes can live out their call to evangelization by means of missionary, catechetical, and pastoral activity.
The Bishops declare that "as a concrete sign of the Church's presence in society, parishes should be places for a new dialogue to occur between contemporary culture and the Gospel of Christ; and for a profound encounter between Christ, the Living Word, and those who have yet to meet him" (no. 9). All of this will require a profound conversion on the part of people and communities, part of what Pope Francis has called "the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are."
This text complements the Commission's recent work, "The Essential Elements of Evangelization Today", which was published in 2013.