ARTICLE – Characteristics of missionary parishes

Missionary parishes exists for the purpose of evangelization and have 4 main characteristics:

A focus on love and service: By loving and serving their communities and surroundings with the hands of Christ, parishioners manifest the merciful heart of God and make their parish a light to the world and a welcoming place worthy of the Gospel.

A clear awareness of their mission: Parishioners of missionary parishes realize their mission entails not only becoming holy and serving those in need, but, just as importantly, evangelizing and participating in the development of their parish.

A reliance on the Holy Spirit: “Without me,” says Jesus, “you can do nothing”. Missionary parishes give great importance to prayer, faith and spiritual growth.

A process for making disciples: One of the most overlooked, yet crucial aspects of missionary parishes is the process they establish to make disciples of Jesus Christ from unchurched people. This process is the golden thread that links the various parish ministries together to lead the evangelized to the sacraments of Christian initiation, to spiritual maturity and to mission. 

In this sense, four terms summarize well the characteristics of missionary parishes: love, purpose, power, and process. Their vision is to become evangelizing communities that proclaim Jesus Christ as God and Savior and encourage men and women to become His disciples and responsible members of his Church. They constatntly strive to connect with those who do not follow Christ, to love them, to serve them, to welcome them into the Church and to lead them to become missionary disciples.

Pierre-Alain Giffard

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