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“The proclamation of the Word of God has Christian conversion as its aim: a complete and sincere adherence to Christ and his Gospel through faith… Conversion means accepting, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Christ and becoming his disciple… The Church calls all people to this conversion, following the example of John the Baptist… as well as the example of Christ himself…

“Nowadays the call to conversion which missionaries address to non-Christians is put into question or passed over in silence. It is seen as an act of “proselytizing”; it is claimed that it is enough to help people to become more human or more faithful to their own religion, that it is enough to build communities capable of working for justice, freedom, peace and solidarity. What is overlooked is that every person has the right to hear the “Good News” of the God who reveals and gives himself in Christ, so that each one can live out in its fullness his or her proper calling…

“Conversion to Christ is joined to Baptism not only because of the Church’s practice, but also by the will of Christ himself, who sent the apostles to make disciples of all nations and to baptize them… In Baptism, in fact, we are born anew to the life of God’s children, united to Jesus Christ and anointed in the Holy Spirit. Baptism is… the sacrament which signifies and effects rebirth from the Spirit, establishes real and unbreakable bonds with the Blessed Trinity, and makes us members of the Body of Christ, which is the Church…

“Certainly, every convert is a gift to the Church and represents a serious responsibility for her, not only because converts have to be prepared for Baptism through the catechumenate and then be guided by religious instruction, but also because—especially in the case of adults—such converts bring with them a kind of new energy, an enthusiasm for the faith, and a desire to see the Gospel lived out in the Church…

“Conversion and Baptism give entry into a Church already in existence or require the establishment of new communities which confess Jesus as Savior and Lord. This is part of God’s plan, for it pleases him ‘to call human beings to share in his own life not merely as individuals, without any unifying bond between them, but rather to make them into a people in which his children, who had been widely scattered, might be gathered together in unity.'”

(Pope St. John Paul the Great, Redemptoris Missio, 46-48)

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