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Pope speaks of God’s call to proclaim the Gospel with a culture of encounter

Rio, July 27, 2013: Pope Francis on Saturday, urged the bishops, clergy, seminarians and religious to respond to the call of God, proclaim the Gospel and promote a culture of encounter in their lives and ministry. In his homily at mass Saturday at Rio de Janeiro’s Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, the Pope reflected upon three aspects of the priestly or religious vocation.

Elaborating the ‘call by God’ he said “that our “life in Christ” is precisely what ensures the effectiveness of our apostolate, that which makes our service fruitful, which can be achieved through our faithfulness to a life of prayer, and in our daily encounter with him, present in the Eucharist and in those most in need. “Being with” Christ does not isolate us from others. Rather, it is a “being with” in order to go forth and encounter others.” He said. Recalling the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, he said “We must be very proud of our vocation because it gives us the opportunity to serve Christ in the poor.

Further he said “we are called to proclaim the Gospel.” Asking the bishops, priests and religious, to accompany the youth in hearing the mandate of Jesus: “Go and make disciples of all nations” he said “It is our responsibility to help kindle within their hearts the desire to be missionary disciples of Jesus. Recalling his personal dream as a young man to be a missionary in faraway Japan, he said “God, however, showed me that my missionary territory was much closer: my own country.”

“To be missionary disciples flows from our baptism and is an essential part of what it means to be a Christian.” He said. We must also help them to realize that we are called first to evangelize in our own homes and our places of study and work, to evangelize our family and friends. He called everyone present to spare no effort in the formation of our young people to be missionaries in everyday life.

Finally he rued that in many places, the culture of exclusion, of rejection, is spreading. There is no place for the elderly or for the unwanted child; there is no time for that poor person on the edge of the street. So he said “have the courage to go against the tide. Let us not reject this gift of God which is the one family of his children. Encountering and welcoming everyone, solidarity and fraternity: these are what make our society truly human, there by promoting the culture of encounter and being servants of communion”

While concluding he said may the Virgin Mary be our model praying that she may be the Star that surely guides our steps to meet the Lord.


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