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PEP: Contents, Abbreviations, Forward and Introduction

John Paul II stated that "our programme for the Third Millenium" was "to reach people, mould communities, and have a deep and incisive influence [...] in society and culture". (Nuovo millenio ineunte, § 29) To carry this out in Slovakia the bishops assembled more than fifty professionals, and an eight-man editorial board to draw up what critics have called a " five-year plan for a theocracy".

 


 

 Pastorisation and Evangelisation Plan
 of the Catholic Church in Slovakia,
 2001–2006

Pastoračný a evanjelizačný plán Katolíckej cirkvi na Slovensku (2001-2006)
http://www.kbs.sk/obsah/sekcia/h/dokumenty-a-vyhlasenia/p/dokumenty-konferencie-biskupov-slovenska/c/pastoracny-a-evanjelizacny-plan-katolickej-cirkvi-na-slovensku-2001-2006

By the Slovak Bishops Conference, 10 May 2001.
Translation and notes by Prof. em. Alexander Rehák 
 



Contents

1.   CHURCH AND SOCIETY IN SLOVAKIA
1.1  Church and state
1.2  Social situation of believers
1.3  Financial and material funding of the Church
1.4  Relation of science, faith and culture
1.5  Schools and education    
1.6  The mass media – means of social communication  

2. THE PEOPLE OF GOD 
2.1  Services performed by the Bishops  
2.2  Vocation of priests 
2.3  Contributions of Institutes for the Sanctity of Life and Associations of Apostolic Life
2.4  The involvement of all baptised believers in the Church vocation
2.5  Lay movements and associations

3. THE PARISH 
3.1  Pastorisation and evangelisation of the parish community
3.2  The harbinger service
3.3  Catechesis
3.4  Sacred liturgy
3.5  The deaconry
3.6  Popular and worldwide missions, public evangelisation

4. FAMILY AND EDUCATION
4.1  Marriage and family
4.2  Bringing up children 
4.3  Youth and the evangelisation
4.4  Pastorisation of university students
4.5  Care of seniors

5. ECUMENISM AND THE DIALOGUE 
5.1  People with no religious belief
5.2  Sects
5.3  Dialogue with the Jews
5.4  Dialogue with the Moslems
5.5  Ecumenism

6. SPECIAL GROUPS AND ACTIVITIES
6.1  National minorities
6.2  The Roma
6.3  Armed forces – the army and the police
6.4  Pastorisation of the handicapped
6.5  Pastorisation of addicts
6.6  Pastorisation of prisoners
6.7  Pastorisation of pilgrims and migrants
6.8  Pastorisation of Slovaks living abroad

CONCLUSION
 

Abbreviations

AA – Alcoholics Anonymous
AG – Ad Gentes
CCE – Codex canonum ecclesiarum orientalium
CIC – Codex iuris canonici
DNS – Spiritual and religious service in army
ECAV – Evangelical Church of the Ausburg (Lutheran) Faith
EN – Evangelii Nuntiandi
ERC – Ecumenical Council of the Church
Ex – Exodus
GS – Gaudium et Spes
ChL – Christi fideles Laici
Jn – Gospel of John
Kán – Canon
KBS – Bishops Conference of Slovakia
KKC – Catechism of the Catholic Church
KN – Katolícke noviny = The Catholic News (periodical)
Kol – Collosians
LG – Lumen Gentium
L – Gospel of Luke
MF SR – Finance Ministry of the Slovak Republic
Mt – Gospel of Matthew
NMI – Novo millenio ineunte
OT – Optatam totius
1 Pt – Peter’s 1st letter
PO – Presbyterorum ordinis
RFIS – Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis
SAV – Slovak Academy of Science
Sir – Book of Sirachovic
Sro – Slovak Radio
SSV – Spolok svätého Vojtecha (=Society of Saint Adalbert)
STV – Slovak Television
TK KBS – Press Agency of the Bishops Conference of Slovakia
UR – Unitatis Redintegratio
VDK – Universal declaration for the Cathechesis
Z.z – Zbierka zákonov (= Collection of acts of Slovakian customary law)
Zb – Zbierka ( = the official name of former Czechoslovak Collection of customary law acts)
Zjv – Book of Revelation
 

Foreword

The Diocesan Bishops in Slovakia, being encouraged by the Apostolic letter of John Paul II Nuovo millenio ineunte, art 29, have decided to outline the stages of the pastorisation and evangelisation activities in their dioceses and, after mutual consultation, to co-ordinate them with plans of the neighbouring dioceses. Msgr. Bober was entrusted with the co-ordination of tasks concerning the pastorisation and evangelisation plan of the Catholic Church in Slovakia at the meeting of the Bishops Conference in Donovaly on 22-24 March 2000. Msgr. Bober solicited the co-operation of more than fifty professionals, as well as an eight member editorial group made up of five priests and three laymen, whose aim was to communicate with the rest of the participants and to prepare a draft of priorities which contained the following points:

a)  Emphasis is put on conversion and sanctity as the central principle of the pastorisation plan; because to ask the Catechumen: “Do you want to be baptised?” means to ask him: “Do you want to be saint?” (cf. NMI 30) It follows from this principle, that Christian communities must become the true schools of praying. Evangelisation doesn’t concern only a “small group of specialists, but is the responsibility and the everyday duty of all communities and groups.” It is from this aspect that one must view the sacramental pastorisation, the reception and revelation of the Word of God.

b)  Another basic priority is the commandment of love (cf. Jn 13:34), whose visible expression is the community (koinonia, communio). It is a great challenge facing us in this millennium: “to transform the Church in the homes and schools of the community (cf. NMI 43). Closely related to this is emphasis on the spirituality of the community as the basis for the formation of the monks, pastorisation co-workers as well as the ordained officials”. The spirituality of the community requires above all concentrating the vision of the heart on the enigma of the Holy Trinity dwelling within us, whose luminosity should be perceived on the faces of our brothers and sisters beside us (NMI 43).

c)  Additional emphasis is put on “mutual listening among the shepherds and the believers, without minimising the authority of the shepherds, on a dialogue, on missions, on ecumenism, and on active love for all, especially for the helpless.

The Pastorisation and Evangelisation Plan of the Catholic Church in Slovakia is based on these principles. It is an attempt to interpret the vision of Diocesan Bishops, co-ordinated with the suggestions of the neighbouring diocesan communities, into concrete recommendations for pastorisation and evangelisation. This plan is divided into 6 parts and 33 themes. After evaluating the position of the Churches on the territory of Slovak Republic it deals with tasks relating to all the baptised within the people of God and the pastorisation and the evangelisation of the parish community. In addition, it deals closely with the problems of the family and raising of children, as well as with the ecumenism and the pastorisation and evangelisation activities in special groups.

The procedure accepted for this Pastorisation and Evangelisation Plan contains involves, first of all, a concise evaluation of the current situation (positive and negative aspects), followed by an outline of the aims and a proposal for recommendations (on how to reach these goals).
 

Introduction
The overall situation and the tasks of the Church in Slovakia

From 1950 to 1990 the Church suffered a period of oppression. Some of its members failed, but the Church as a whole preserved its fidelity to the Gospel and to the Holy Father and emerged from its trials purged and strengthened by the bravery of its followers and its martyrs. We have a profound obligation to make public their message. Nevertheless, numerous published testimonies about this epoch exist and the procedure of beatification has been initiated for two Bishops – the martyrs, Ján Vojtaššak [1] and Peter Pavel Gojdič.

Several successful evangelisation and pastorisation initiatives by priests and committed laymen are underway, and one can perceive the positive influence of the monastic orders, secular institutions and ecclesiastic movements.

Fifty years ago the believers received strong impulses for their spiritual growth throughout their lives. In these circumstances pastoral activities could be confined to teaching children, giving sermons, granting sacraments and supporting the overseas missions. At present the situation is entirely different. Only a small percentage of the population goes to church (in Bratislava 8-9 % attend the Saint Mass on Sundays, of which approximately 1/3 take Holy Communion – the general Slovakian average is slightly higher). Public opinion and the legal system respect Christian principles, (however) negative anti-religious influences are continually working upon the religious believers (sects, divorces, consumer values, promotion of contraception, abortions and homosexuality, etc). The majority of families don’t fulfil their educational and evangelisation functions. The sexual education is often guidance on how to perform sex; the same applies to the press and television. The religious ignorance of children, teens and young adults is alarming. In this situation we ask: What does God expect from us? “What does the Holy Ghost says to churches?” (Zjv 2:7)

Recent decades have deprived us of much security and sustenance, but taught us to rely on one who “dethroned the crowned heads, and promoted those humiliated” (Lk 1:52) to whom nothing is impossible (Lk 1:37). With such hopes we approach the problems of the current epoch. Contemporary post-modern man rejects all generally valid norms and binding dogmas, but he is accessible to authentic experience, to personal witness and to the living community – in this way he can reach the eternal truths of the Gospel. Such a situation has challenged us to become a missionary Church, knowing that “the aim of the announcing the Gospel to all people is…. the essential vocation of the Church (cf. EN 14). By trying to set in motion a new evangelisation, we hope that, through its faith, Slovakia can play an important role in a secularised Europe.

Our aims from the viewpoint of the Church are:

A missionary Church as a unified nation with the unity of the Holy Trinity (cf. LG 4) characterised by the following features: communio, missio, dialogue, collegiality, synod authority, witnessing of fraternal love, co-operation with the communities, institutions and with other ecclesiastical movements.

From the point of view of the parish: the parish as a community of communities, which live from the Gospel and for the Gospel, because “communio” is at the same time the source and the product of the vocation (ChL 32).

From the aspect of individuals: priority of the conversion and of the vocation for sanctity, responsiveness for the utterance and professing faith, community with the pope, and the bishop as the basis of unity, participating on the consecratory tasks of the Church, involvement and presence of the laymen in human society, and their engagement in the evangelisation services (cf. EN 59; AG 35).

On the following pages we will try, when treating relevant themes, to expound our vision of the pastorisation and evangelisation life of the Church in Slovakia in the period from 2001 to 2006, so that the goals mentioned above can be fulfilled. 

 


 

Note for the Introduction 

By the translator, Dr. Alexander Rehák

1. “Prague (JTA) -- Five Israeli historians are calling on the Vatican to halt its plans to make a Slovak Catholic bishop a candidate for sainthood. The historians charge that the late Bishop Jan Vojtassak played an active role in the Holocaust as a senior official in the wartime Slovak government, which was sympathetic to the Nazis. During a visit to Slovakia in 1995, Pope John Paul II suggested that Vojtassak could be a candidate for sainthood because he had been a victim of the Communists.”

“World Report, 3 November 2000”, Jewish News Weekly.  http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/14388/world-report/


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