Some surprising and challenging advice:
The papal vicar for Rome has asked every pastor in the diocese to form a “pastoral team” of about a dozen “courageous explorers” to help launch a new neighborhood missionary outreach.
“Don’t go looking for those who have shown they are prudent, measured and detail-oriented,” Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the papal vicar, wrote in a letter to pastors July 11.
Instead, he said, the team should be made up of “people who draw outside the lines, people whom the Holy Spirit has made passionate about imperfection.”
The diocese’s 2019-2020 pastoral year is focused on “listening to the cry of the city” and responding with stronger parish communities, a greater focus on Sunday Mass, visiting the poor and lonely, providing concrete assistance to those in need and reaching out to young people and families.Cardinal De Donatis suggested the priests look for 12 people to serve on the pastoral team. The number is not a requirement, he said, but should send a message to Catholics that the parish is looking “for a small group from which everything set out.”
“We do not need competent and qualified professionals as much as Christians who apparently are like everyone else but, in reality, are able to dream, to infect others with their dreams and want to experience something new,” the cardinal wrote.
“Perhaps,” he told the pastors, “these are people you have tried to contain a bit up until now — frankly, they can be destabilizing — but no more; you must draw them near, listen to them, value them and let them act so they can disturb the drowsy tranquility of others.”
And, he said, it is possible they will make mistakes, but that is better than having a parish that never tries anything new.