The ‘Joy of the Gospel’ to wake up the world and the mission

(AsiaNews) – Gaudium Evangelii (The Joy of the Gospel), released by Pope Francis on 24 November 2013, is an Apostolic Exhortation because it is not dedicated to a single theme (as is generally the case for encyclicals), but covers a large swathe of Church activities. However, it has been rightly called a ‘papal manifesto’ because it is a declaration of intent that comes at the start of a pontificate that hopefully will be long enough in relation to what Pope Francis wants to achieve.

In order to understand fully the Italian-Argentinian pope, who came from “the end of the world,” we must always keep in mind the main goal Jorge Mario Bergoglio wants to achieve in his years as Bishop of Rome. Not all commentators have realised this; many have in fact focused on details and do not understand why they are not on his wavelength.

Svegliate il mondo con la gioia del Vangelo (Wake up the world with the Joy of the Gospel) by Fr Giuseppe Buono, published by LER (Libreria Editrice Redenzione), Marigliano (Naples, p. 150, € 10) is a book that can help us understand why. Released in mid-March, it sold out in a few days and is now in its second updated edition with a foreword by Mgr Anthony Stagliano, bishop of Noto (Syracuse, Sicily).

Fr Buono has been a priest and a PIME missionary since 1959. He has taught missiology as well as bioethics and religions, travelling to many missions on four continents. As the founder of the Youth Movement of the Pontifical Mission Societies and secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union, he has gained knowledge and a passion for the mission to the nations that makes him a credible reader and witness of Evangelii Gaudium.

In his introduction, he explains that he wrote the book as an aid to ecclesiology students at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy (St Thomas section, Naples), to help them “read organically the themes of the mission, the way Pope Francis presents them, and which need further theological and historical foundations and insights to mark deeply the life of Christians.” [more]