4 July 2019 - "Baptized and sent": in view of the extraordinary Missionary Month. Door-to-door evangelization: is the initiative of St. John parish in Karachi that has commissioned a group of pastoral workers to visit the homes of parishioners and talk about faith, especially with the baptized who, for various reasons, do not attend the Church assiduously and are on the margins of ecclesial life. "Very often the faithful are urged to take care of the poor, to work for justice and to love God, but few take the task of proclaiming and preaching the Gospel seriously. For various reasons the commitment of Catholics to personally share the fullness of the Gospel seems rather scarce", says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Arthur Charles, parish priest of St. John church. For this reason the parish priest had the idea of sending pastoral workers to a door-to-door evangelization experience, "a completely new vision and concept in Pakistan", he points out, which will be developed in view of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, announced by the Pope for October 2019.
Fr. Arthur Charles, professor of theology, is involved in the formation of future priests and has a long experience of pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Karachi, having also carried out the role of Vicar General. For over 15 years he has been the director of the Catechistic Center of Karachi and from there he has promoted innovative pastoral initiatives and ideas, which also include the use of mass media.
Talking about this latest creative project, Father Arthur Charles said: "We have very few Catholic priests and catechists, while self-proclaimed Pastors of Protestant or evangelical communities often create confusion among the Catholic faithful. We have therefore decided to have a group of young people who offer their time to preach the Word of God".
The parish priest chose 12 men from different walks of life, he prepared them with a specific training course in theology, biblical studies, liturgy, sacraments, pastoral theology. In a solemn "liturgy of the mandate", the 12 were sent, in a holy mass celebrated by Cardinal Joseph Coutts, who recalled the sending of the apostles. "Their main task is to go door to door, visit families who do not attend the Church, recite prayers, read the Gospel of the day with them", explains Fr. Charles. "These pastoral workers can then become catechists or even permanent deacons", he says.
One of the twelve missionaries, Ashraf Francis, told Fides his experience: "We knock on doors, we present ourselves saying that we only want to read the Gospel of the day and recite a prayer at home. Families are very happy and they thank us, or often they tell their suffering or difficulty".
"As missionaries, we knock on doors, greet, listen, read the Gospel, recite a prayer and, if there is an opportunity, we invite people to Mass", said Emmanuel Francis, another of the pastoral workers sent. "The work of evangelization requires great patience and trust in the Holy Spirit, that is the author of the mission", recalls Fr. Charles. Other parishes in Karachi are informing themselves with the intention of replicating the initiative in their territory. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 4/7/2019)