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SPECIAL: Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road

6/20/2007 - 5:55 AM PST

(Page 11 of 18)

sacraments, spiritual direction, counselling and the religious formation of motorists, road transport professionals, passengers and everyone who is in some way connected to roads and railways.

Joint efforts should be made to raise awareness of the ethical requirements that derive from traffic and support initiatives and commitments aimed at promoting ethical and human values regarding roads and railways, so that mobility may be an element of communion amongst people.

The Gospel message of love applied to the road issue should be spread within society, thereby strengthening travellers' awareness of their moral obligations, as well as fostering a sense of responsibility in order to ensure compliance with legislation, thus avoiding offences and damages to third parties.

81. This pastoral care is addressed, in varying degrees, to everyone connected with roads and railways, including not only road users but also people who make their living in this sector. This pastoral care aims to come close to people in their specific environment, to help them coexist in peace, exercise mutual solidarity and unite them with God, thus contributing to bringing this sector more closely in line with the Christian message, and thereby make it more human.

This entails rediscovering and putting into practice the virtues of road use, above all charity, prudence and justice. The media could be very useful in this task, especially radio which also provides good company to travellers.

Catholic Radio Stations should play a more active role in this field, including through songs and non-superficial content, and by taking advantage of its personal training potential.

82. Regarding such specific pastoral care, several initiatives already exist in various countries, some of which are truly creative and capable of achieving good concrete results. Such initiatives include chapels (fixed and mobile) along motorways, and periodic celebration of liturgies at major road hubs, motorway restaurants and lorry parks. Other initiatives regard retail outlets for religious items and Christian information centres for travellers and workers at railway and bus stations; meeting places in parishes, on motorways and at borders; and activities arranged by priests and religious and even lay pastoral agents.

Also included are the spiritual care of road transport workers and their families; motorcycle clubs; rallies and similar gatherings, the blessing of vehicles, the European Car Free Day; national, diocesan and parochial celebrations of the Day of those injured on the roads, or of forgiveness; and collaboration with the pastoral care of tourism and of pilgrimages and other human mobility sectors, and with traffic police chaplains, driving schools and so on.

83. Appropriate response to these pastoral challenges also comes under the responsibility of Bishops' Conferences and the corresponding Structures of Oriental Catholic Churches. Such an apostolate requires a minimum amount of organisation, or at least a national, diocesan/eparchial or local reference point that provides institutional references to the work of this incipient specific pastoral care. It might also be a appropriate to appoint a National Promoter for this pastoral care, and maybe to start, some Diocesan Delegate, entrusting the responsibility of the relative pastoral activity to a priest or a deacon, even if not on a full-time basis.

In any case, this also requires a more missionary ecclesial awareness on the part of the pastoral structures linked to the territory, which is able to imagine and carry out a "pastoral care on the move", a pastoral care also of mobility, with a view to achieving real and effective integrated pastoral care. Indeed, "the mobility of the pastoral charity of the Church should be corresponding to the mobility of the modern world"[30]. It would be a good idea to hold meetings at various levels of pastoral agents engaged in this specific apostolate of the road, in order to exchange information and experiences that would help to maximise benefits in this field of new evangelisation[31].

84. Mobility and its problems -- a true sign of the times -- which are characteristic of contemporary society throughout the world, today pose an important and pressing challenge for institutions and individuals, as well as for the Church which has a mission in this respect. Believers in the Son of God who became man to save humanity cannot remain indifferent before this new horizon that is opening up for evangelisation, including the integral promotion of each and every person in the name of Jesus Christ.


85. "Customers" approach street women from their cars, which may even be where the trading of their bodies takes place. Pastoral care of the street should examine these situations, which ...

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