‘Unless we re-invent the spirit of the early Church that grew up in small Christian communities, the Church will gradually lose its kingdom values.’ – Father Thomas Vijay
NEW DELHI – The Church in India should rediscover the spirit of early Christians if it is to avoid the fate of its European counterparts, says a priest associated with Small Christian Communities.
“Unless we re-invent the spirit of the early Church that grew up in small Christian communities, the Church will gradually lose its kingdom values as is happening in European countries,” said Father Thomas Vijay, secretary of the national service team for these communities.
The team that met in Nagpur, central India, from Nov 26-27, stressed the need to promote the theology of such communities.
These communities should implement more activities involving more members, the meeting suggested. Such a move would help the Church in its mission of more effective evangelization.
The national team plans to prepare a book on the theology of small Christian communities next year.
Father Vijay said the book will address issues such as values in families and challenges they face from the modern world.
The priest says that attending Sunday Mass alone would not help forge “a strong sense of bonding” among parishioners. “Rituals and doctrines alone cannot foster or facilitate relationships,” he told ucanews.com.
The priest regretted an increasing tendency in the Church to leave the work of mission to the clergy and the Religious, with little lay participation.
This trend, Father Vijay said, has led to lay people gradually losing interest in the Church’s mission. Rekindling small Christian communities can reverse that, he said.
Bishop Fritz Lobinger from South Africa was among the 16 participants.
“We want a participatory Church for the next generation,” the prelate told ucanews.com. UCANEWS.COM