VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Catholics need to reach out to “baptized non-Christians,” those who have forgotten or walked away from their faith, Pope Francis said.
The pope met March 6 with about 7,000 members of the Neocatechumenal Way, which guides members in an itinerary of exploring the meaning of their baptism and learning to live according to its promises. The pope blessed 31 Neocatechumenal teams — 31 priests along with 200 couples and their 600 children — who are about to begin service as missionaries around the world.
Pope Francis asked the team members, formed originally “to evangelize non-Christians, those who have never heard anyone speak of Jesus Christ,” to fulfill that task but also reach out to the many “baptized non-Christians who have forgotten their faith because of secularization, worldliness and many other factors. Reawaken their faith!”
Even before speaking to anyone about faith, he said, “it is with your witness of life that you demonstrate the heart of Christ’s revelation: that God loves us to the point of handing himself over to death for us and that he was raised again by the Father to give us the grace of giving our lives for others.”
Pope Francis said people today need to hear the Christian message. “How much solitude, how much suffering, how much distance from God exists in the many peripheries of Europe and America, and in many cities of Asia!”
“Humanity greatly needs to hear that God loves us and that love is possible,” he said.
The pope told members of the Neocatechumenal Way that he continues to insist that the church cannot be satisfied with a pastoral plan inspired mainly by “simple preservation” or trying not to lose any more members, but must be “decisively missionary.”
“How many times, within the church, do we keep Jesus inside and don’t let him go out. How many times!” he said. “This is the most important thing to do if we do not want the waters to stagnate within the church.”
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing 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