By Robin Gomes
The Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has established an institute in Macau to give a boost to the mission “ad gentes” of the Catholic Church in Asia.
After an audience with Pope Francis on Monday, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Prefect of the Congregation, signed a decree establishing the “Redemptoris Mater College for Evangelization in Asia”, reported the Vatican’s Fides news agency. The administration of the institute has been entrusted to the Neocatechumenal Way.
Proclaiming the Gospel in Asia
According to the statute of the College, it is in fact a "major seminary of the Church, an educational community that enjoys a canonical juridical personality and will have to obtain juridical personality according to the laws of the country" in which it is established.
It opens its doors in September and intends to respond to the call of Pope St. John Paul II’s 1990 encyclical, “Redemptoris Missio” (the mission of the Redeemer), that indicates the Asian continent as a territory where “the Church’s mission ‘ad gentes’ ought to be chiefly directed. "
The institute is also a response to the call of Pope Francis who, in his Apostolic Exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium”, invites the Church to "go forth" to always proclaim the Gospel.
The former Portuguese colony of Macau, where the institute is established, was returned to China in 1999. It is a special administrative region like Hong Kong.
The statute of the institute that depends directly on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will maintain contact with the local bishop and may have separate sections in other places or countries.
The College aims to prepare future priests for evangelization in Asia, accompanying them "in the life of prayer and the theological and cardinal virtues, with a serious commitment to philosophical and theological studies and to an action of itinerant evangelization".
The priests formed in the institute "may be sent, according to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to the requesting dioceses", in different Asian territories and nations, according to the pastoral needs of those who request them.
"In this mission of evangelization,” the statute says, “presbyters can be assisted by entire families, formed in the Neocatechumenal Way, willing to be also sent".
The Neocatechumenal Way
The seminary formation will be in line with the instructions of the Magisterium of the Church, while the formation of candidates includes direct and personal participation in the Neocatechumenal Way.
Initiated in Madrid in 1964 by lay Spanish artist, Kiko Argüello, the Neocatechumenal Way, or simply called “The Way”, is a Catholic movement dedicated to post- and pre-baptismal formation of Christians, based on the word of God, the Eucharist and the Christian community.
The Way engages families who through their witness and life serve to establish the presence of the Catholic Church in countries where the Church is absent or tiny, or to revive and strengthen the presence of Catholic communities in difficult and highly secularized areas.
The “Redemptoris Mater College for Evangelization in Asia” has two patrons: Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, and St. Joseph, the custodian of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Asian saints also be celebrated "with particular solemnity". (Source: Fides)