Das erste Netzwerktreffen diente der gegenseitigen Präsentation der Arbeitsschwerpunkte sowie Curricula der Institute. Diskutiert wurde darüber hinaus, was das spezifisch – in diesem Fall – afrikanische Verständnis von Pastoral ausmacht und wie dieses die Arbeit der einzelnen Institute prägt. Als Verständnis von Pastoral im afrikanischen Kontext wurde festgehalten:
Following Christ in our day today engagement in all sphere of life = political, social and economic. Accepting Christ and making him known to all, in all spheres of life. Christ has to speak to humanity in all circumstances. So Pastoral is a tool for Christ to be known.
Pastoral activity is being with and cooperating with others in our journeys to be fully alive through a life founded in friendship with Jesus – a friendship which has to be shared and lived with and through others.
Following the Option for the poor Pastoral Work is eager to bring the people life in its fullness (Jn 10.10). More and more people enable themselves, knowing and discovering Jesus in their lives and acting in the society like Jesus did. Together with the people, Pastoral Work supports the growth of faith, self-consciousness and spirituality of the individuals and the communities. This may be the solid ground to make the Kingdom of God reality. Work supports the growth of faith, self-consciousness and spirituality of the individuals and the communities. This may be the solid ground to make the Kingdom of God reality.
Pastoral attempts to help people live lives of human dignity, to be fully alive and life-giving in community. It is inspired by Jesus and sees his project of the “kingdom (reign) of God” as our shared destination. It appreciates the Catholic Church as a part realization of and privileged tool towards this “Kingdom”. It embraces all aspects of life holistically and respects cultural diversity, opts for the poor and works towards the common good. Practically it uses the pas-toral cycle approach.
Pastoral is a multifaceted concept that describes various activities of the Church that seek or aim at making the realities/ vision of the Kingdom of God proclaimed of Jesus Christ mean-ingful, relevant, present, tangible, here and now so that the people among whom those activities are carried out or to whom the activities are directed may have/ experience life and have it to the full.
In its pastoral ministry the church realizes it’s mission to be a sacrament in the world, a sign and instrument for the Kingdom of God. In the African context any pastoral approach is obliged to follow the option for the poor and aims at changing oppressing and exploiting realities so that people can experience the fullness of life which was pronounced by Jesus Christ.
To be pastoral, a human being, deeply in touch with Christ, is urged of His love to reach out to stress. This outreach is an expression of an individual’s own giftedness. It can take the form of humanitarian acts, research of the root causes of inequality, education in the best sense of the word “educare” or any other involvement which enhances the dignity and freedom of the human person.
The main focus of a true pastoral should be “the fear, the needs and the joys… of all human beings” (cf. GS, Nr. 1). The preferential option for the poor or marginalized children, women and men is a very important filter for all pastoral work. All people, no matter whether they are catholic, Christian, or whether they belong to other religions may take part in our prophetic work for the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ is the starting point for the people of god’s mission; he is an idol, a friend and accompanies us. We aim for all people being fully alive. May the Holy Spirit help us!