VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Evangelization requires people who joyfully and lovingly live their faith, are not afraid to go out to share it and know how to transmit to others the essential teachings of the church, Pope Francis said.
The world needs “the oxygen of the Gospel, the breath of the spirit of the risen Christ,” Pope Francis told members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization.
Meeting the council members Oct. 14 at the beginning of their plenary meeting, the pope said there are steps both individuals and the church as a whole must take to fulfill their obligation to share the Gospel with the world.
While faith is a gift, he said, Christians must show others its meaning by being living examples of love, agreement, joy and trust in the midst of suffering “because this will raise questions,” such as “Why do they live like that? What motivates them?”
Pope Francis said everyone knows many people have left the church or no longer practice their faith as they should, and “it’s wrong to blame one side or another” when there is such a pressing obligation to move forward.
“As sons and daughters of the church, we must continue the journey of the Second Vatican Council, rid ourselves of useless and dangerous things, of false worldly securities that weigh down the church and damage its true face,” he said.
Pope Francis said catechesis is a key part of the new evangelization, and strengthening religious education efforts must continue in order to overcome “the fracture between the Gospel and culture as well as the illiteracy we find today in matters of faith.”
The pope said he knows he has mentioned it several times in recent weeks, but one thing he repeatedly is struck by is the number of baptized children who do not even know how to make the sign of the cross.
The work of catechists is essential, he said, but parents must be the first to educate their children in the faith.
Catholics cannot wait for people to come to them, he said. They have an obligation to go out into the world and share the good news of faith and salvation with all those who are seeking or hurting in any way.
“Christians must make visible to people today the mercy of God and his tenderness toward every creature,” Pope Francis said. “We must all ask ourselves if the people we meet perceive in our lives the warmth of faith and see in our face the joy of having encountered Christ.”
To evangelize, he said, is to focus “on the essential, that is, on Jesus Christ,” on his love and on loving others as he did.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103