A church that talks. This is the title of the pastoral indications of bishop Marco Prastaro for the year 2022-2023.
The booklet, published today and distributed in both paper and pdf format on the Diocese website, also contains the calendar with all the diocesan appointments for the next pastoral year and is enriched by a rich appendix with food for thought, meditation and prayer.
The style is the “synodal” one, not only because we are talking about the Synod of the Italian Church, with the second year of the “narrative” phase, organized on three yards of reflection, which will involve the Diocese in all its articulations, but also because the perspective is that of wide-ranging listening in coherence with what is required by this important experience of the Church.
“The pastoral year that has just ended, with the loosening of the restrictions of the pandemic, has allowed us to regain greater freedom of movement and encounter, but has also shown us all the effort of the recovery, with the fears that still block and the significant decline in attendance in the liturgical and pastoral life of our parishes. This has led us to painfully acknowledge that “the separation caused by the pandemic has accelerated the detachment from the church, definitive or almost, of people with a” weaker “faith, not supported by deep personal convictions and a mature spirituality”writes the bishop.
Words such as formation, co-responsibility and collaboration, fraternity, relationship and listening, emerge as key points for a journey of proclaiming the Gospel in the Church and in the world. Then a reflection on some questions that have remained open. Bishop Marco indicates some that he proposes as an object for further discussion and study. Starting from the first question, “We, as Christians, what do we have that is specific to us to give and announce to the world?“, Passing through an analysis that sees adults between 30 and 50 years old as the great absentees of ecclesial life (and therefore” As a Christian community we ask ourselves how to continue to propose effective paths of faith, capable of touching their life and awaken in them the desire for God and the faith itself) we come to evaluate how to form lay people capable of living the faith and of being protagonists of a new church, different from the one we are used to.
The indications for the new year start from the Synod whose journey continues (for this second year three thematic areas have been identified on which to continue dialogue and listening: the construction of the road and the village, the construction site of hospitality and of the house and the site of the diaconies and spiritual formation) and identify the theme of Charity as the backbone of the pastoral year: in this sense the Bishop will meet at the vicar or area level all the ecclesial realities that deal with the areas they live in. the commitment of Christian witness in the world.
“As you can see, there is much that awaits us, Monsignor Prastaro tells us, let us not be discouraged by giving in to mediocrity, immobility, sadness or perhaps even anger. With an available heart and great generosity we continue to walk and serve our church in Asti in the certainty that the Lord always walks with us, that it is He who saves us and saves the world, who through his Spirit suggests to us what is necessary to do. This we can do – concludes Bishop Marco – because we have experienced the joy of the Lord, a joy that we cannot keep to ourselves. A joy that the world expects of us ”.
A specific presentation of the pastoral indications, the calendar of planned activities and the new steps of the Synodal journey is foreseen at a press conference on 12 October at 12 in the Vescovado.