Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2018.

Degree Name

Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD)


Eduardo Fernandez, SJ.


The new and different frontiers and factors discussed in missiology are reshaping the meaning of mission. Christian mission today is searching for new directions to approach the postmodern, postcolonial, and ecumenical paradigms. I would like to argue that mission is not just a transmission of knowledge that keeps an established structure and culture alive (often justified and glorified by a specific ecclesiological model). Rather, mission aims at the process of embodying the content and praxis of the gospel. Mission can be understood as an invitation to initiate a transformative process of faith, which leads to personal and social transformation.

This work brings into dialogue Stephan Bevans’s notion of mission as prophetic dialogue and Paulo Freire’s concept of conscientização. The aim is not to use Freire’s conscientização as a method to do mission but to rescue the process that leads to a transformation in both concepts, allowing one to encounter the other where they are while respecting the uniqueness of every person, culture, church, and society. Prophetic dialogue enriched by Freire’s thought and vice versa can open new perspectives within missiology and provide a new approach to mission praxis.

The concept of conscientização is shown to support the conscious dedication, preparation, dialogue, and commitment to incarnate the gospel in every culture. It sets up the interior attitude to read, interpret, as well as to intervene in specific realities.

Likewise, this work is limited to understanding mission as prophetic dialogue. Introduced by Bevans and Roger Schroeder but further developed by Bevans, this work focuses more on Bevans's contribution to prophetic dialogue. Besides revealing the riches that prophetic dialogue offers to mission praxis, this work explores questions and challenges in missiological discourse today, such as how to promote the gospel in a more experiential way.

My mission praxis is then analyzed through the experiential and transformative elements of the Verbum Dei charism applied to my ministry with the Latino immigrant population in California. Bevans's and Freire's work is used to demonstrate the effectiveness of prophetic dialogue and conscientização in the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity mission praxis.

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