Home > Synod > 2010-10-13 17:43:11
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Intervention of Mons. Georges BACOUNI, Archbishop of Tyr of the Greek-Melkites (LEBANON)

It is true that parents are the first catechists of the faithful, with the help of schools and parishes. But in the wake of Vatican II a new catechism initiative sprung from the New Ecclesial Movements with the blessing and encouragement of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI. It is important for the Eastern Church today to learn from their success and benefit from their initiative.

Most of these ecclesial movements follow a certain approach to catechism, and I am going to refer to one of them The Sword of the Spirit communities within the Renewal in the Holy Spirit movement to explain their pedagogy. It is modeled on the Lord's own catechetic pedagogy with the disciples on the Emmaus road as we read in the 24th chapter of the gospel of Luke. It is not solely aimed at education of the mind but rather at bringing the faithful to a personal relationship with Jesus, a discovery of their call and mission, and to a deeper communion with the Church. It is a pedagogy aimed at those Christians who like the Emmaus disciples were brought up in the Christian faith but lost hope and "their eyes were kept from recognizing" the Lord (Luke 24: 16). Since many of these Christians will not come to church, members of the movement go and walk with them on the road as the Lord did (v. 15), listen to them (v.17), re evangelize them (vv. 25 27), and bring them to communion with the Lord (v. 30) and to a desire for community (v. 29). Then once their eyes are opened (v. 31) they decide to stay or return to their country and church (v. 33) to become the new missionaries (v. 35). But in order for this conversion to last, they are invited to a life of community (vv. 33, 36 43) where they receive further teaching and fellowship (vv. 44 47), to become witnesses and even martyrs (v. 48), by the power of the Holy Spirit (v. 49) and through a life of worship and prayer (vv. 52,53).
What we can attest and see among these new movements is not only a new vitality for prayer and evangelism, but, more importantly, an ability to inspire a lot of men and women, young and old, to stay in their countries as missionaries, and to serve their local churches with zeal and obedience. It is therefore crucial even vital for Bishops and clergy to realize that these new ecclesial movements are working in the church and for the church, and that their contribution is not a threat but a rich addition to church efforts to catechize the faithful and to preserve a Christian presence in the Middle East. Therefore, Bishops in particular need to encourage and promote such initiatives and, as needed, provide these new ecclesial movements with the theological and spiritual help that they lack.
The Emmaus disciples returned with hope, a hope on which the Church was founded. May we too all return home to our local situations filled with hope in this season where the Holy Spirit is at work in a new way to renew the Church as was described by our dear Pope Benedict in his essay on the Locus of Ecclesial Movements in the church more than 12 years ago and in his prophetic call to this special synod. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

[00042-02.02] [IN020] [Original text: English]


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