A. Introduction

1.  MA must be understood not only as an expression of our identity and the Comboni charism but also as a source of renewal. The concept and field of action for MA have undergone an evolution over time. Therefore as Comboni Missionaries we feel called to renew ourselves in the basic aspect of our charism and to renew our methodology of MA.

B. Analysis of the situation

2.  Changes in society, the Church and the Institute challenge us to a deep renewal in the way we understand and put into practice this essential dimension of our charism that traditionally we call missionary animation.

2.1  The new theological and ecclesial paradigm, according to which there is no “missionary” Church nor any that is the “object of mission” but rather Churches responsible for evangelization and mission beyond their own geographical and sociological confines, obliges us to review the contents and methods of our own MA.

2.2  The vision of mission as the privileged road for the proclamation of the Gospel and the promotion of the values of the Kingdom has extended the concept of MA, intending it now as a stimulus to the Church and society so that they might work for the benefit of life in all its dimensions, and in particular in that of the marginalised.

2.3  The rise of various civil organizations that promote a fairer and more just world, in line with many of our own objectives and activities, pushes us to situate ourselves in a new kind of collaboration.

2.4  The development and consolidation of the Churches in Africa and the Americas, ready to take on new missionary responsibilities, give a new urgency to the animating dimension of our charism.

2.5  Furthermore, changes in vocation and ecclesial geography contribute to the Institute’s perception that wherever in the world it is, it must develop all the various dimensions of its charism. Some Circumscriptions, once exclusively for evangelization, today boast a significant degree of MA, while others that used to live only for MA today feel the challenge of new demands for evangelisation.

2.6  Cultural and technological transformations challenge us to pay constant attention to the new language of multimedia.

C. Working Premises

3.  Comboni desired not only the regeneration of Africa through the power of the Gospel but also a missionary Church open to the call that in those times came from Africa. In the same way, we Comboni Missionaries dream today of a missionary Church open to the cry that reaches it from the poorest of peoples and that is prepared to bear witness to the Gospel beyond its own frontiers. Therefore we commit ourselves wholeheartedly to MA in the whole Church and in particular in those local Churches to which we belong by birth or destination. We believe furthermore that the charism that the Spirit gave to Da­niel Comboni is a gift for the whole Church and we offer it as a vocation proposal and vehicle of collaboration between peoples and Churches.

4.  As Comboni Missionaries we are convinced that our commitment to the poorest and most abandoned is the most important source of inspi­ration for efficacious MA, a way to proclaim that the Gospel is a concrete reality not an abstract idea. Our missionary presence consti­tutes in itself the MA of the local Churches, as well as being a solid testi­mony for lay movements not specifically linked to the Church.

D. Planning Guidelines

5.  As an integral part of our charism MA has the aim of making the local Churches aware of their re­sponsibility to announce the message of Christ beyond their own frontiers, promoting communion and cooperation between the Churches and stimulating reciprocal knowledge and the sharing of the rich diversity of the universal Church.

6.  The MA that we carry out through full insertion into the local Churches must renew itself in order to attain a more prophetic character in the proclamation of the Gospel and the denunciation of situations of oppression and injustice (lobbying and advoca­cy), making known the situations of poverty and mar­ginalisation through which a great part of humanity continues to be dragged.

7.  We reaffirm the Comboni principle of “Saving Afri­ca with Africa”. Following the Plan of Comboni we continue to commit ourselves above all to the formation of community leaders so that the persons and peoples whom we serve may be tran­sformed into agents of evangelization for the spread of the Gospel among all peoples (cf. RL 7.1). Furthermore, our charism opens them up to a wider vision of animation and proclamation, helping them overcome local interests, and ac­quire a truly ad gentes missionary sense and spirit.

8.  Commitment to JPIC is taken on as a constitutive element of the proclamation of the Gospel and of MA; it stimulates us to a personal and coherent witness of a sober style of life, collaborating with whoever is already serving in this field. This is the privileged sector of activity for Brothers and which also favours a requalification of vocation promotion.

E. Action Plan

9.  In every Circumscription we should collaborate with the local Church and other Institutes working out where possible a plan of MA.

10.  Continents should define a continental plan of MA and Circumscriptions formulate their own charter of MA (CA 2003, 45). In every Circumscription plan, the presence of confreres specialized in MA should be ensured (missiology, social communication, journalism, etc).

11.  Over the next six years, the Circumscriptions where still there are no independent CLMs should do everything possible to favour their presence and formation.

12.  As animators we put ourselves at the service of a missionary movement within the local Churches in which we are present. We give priority to the formation and accompani­ment of groups (adults, youth, adole­scents) within the respective Christian communities who take up a journey of witness and missionary commitment inspired by the Comboni charism.  

13.  In every Circumscription collaboration with organised civil society and religious institutions active in JPIC should be promoted.

14.  In vocation promotion and basic formation the missionary vocation should be presented in all its radical expressions.

15.  All the available means of communication should be made use of for MA, vocation promotion, JPIC and to communicate the values of the Kingdom. Every Circumscription should have its own web page.

16.  The diffusion of our magazines, publications and other multimedia contributions to MA should be continued in the parishes, schools and cultural centres.

17.  The work of JPIC in teams should consolidated so that the Institute may be present in the international context (VIVAT and AEF­JN) in order to sustain a campaign of lobbying aimed at the promotion of human rights and to animate our Circumscriptions and the activities we run.