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No. 20

In the opening sentences of no. 20, the Council Fathers remind the new
local Churches that they too must be missionary, and right from the start: “As
the local church must represent the universal Church as perfectly as possible, it
must remember that it has been sent to those who live in the same territory as
itself, but do not believe in Christ, so that it might be for them by the example of
the lives of the faithful and of the whole community, a sign indicating Christ.” 
Their reasoning is that every local church must be a miniature of the universal
Church, with all of its activities.  Evangelizing the whole world is an activity of the
Universal Church.  Therefore evangelization or missions must be an activity of
every local church, including the new local churches in the missions. 
The bishop must be the leader in evangelization activity.  Not only should
the local people be led to Christ by the good example of individual Catholics and
of the Catholic community as whole, but also by the preaching and instruction of
the bishop of the diocese: “The ministry of the word is also necessary so that the
Gospel might reach all men.  The bishop should be, above all, a preacher of the
faith who brings new disciples to Christ.”
He, together with his priests, should work closely with the foreign
missionaries who are active in the missions of his diocese.  His priests too should
be willing to do missionary work, that is, to “undertake missionary work in distant
and abandoned areas of their own or other dioceses as the occasion arises.” 
Some mission dioceses have been exemplary in giving or lending of priests to
other dioceses and countries.  The dioceses of Nigeria, I believe, lead in this
The local missionary work of religious brothers and sisters is also
acknowledged and encouraged: “Brothers and nuns should be on fire with the
same zeal, and likewise lay people with regard to their fellow countrymen,
especially those who are poorer.”
Finally, the Council Fathers encourage the new young churches to begin
sending priests to the foreign missions as soon as possible in order to fan the
missionary zeal of their own people: “In order that this missionary zeal might
flourish among their fellow countrymen, it would help greatly if the young
churches took part in the universal mission of the Church as soon as possible and
sent missionaries to preach the Gospel throughout the whole world, even though
they are themselves short of clergy.” 
Some mission countries like India and Malaysia are now sending
missionaries to Africa and other parts of Asia.  In doing so, they show that they
are now full-fledged members of the universal Church: “In a sense, [the young
churches’] communion with the universal Church will be perfect when they
themselves take an active part in missionary work on behalf of other nations.” 
Let us pray for these young mission churches, that they continue in their vigorous
missionary spirit.