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Pope Francis receives Bishops from Burundi



On Monday Pope Francis received in audience Bishops from Burundi who have begun their traditional visit to the Holy See which takes place every five years. In his address, the Holy Father expressed gratitude to the bishops for their efforts in evangelization and commended their courageous hard work. He encouraged them to maintain good relations with the state because it is necessary for fruitful evangelization. The Pope recalled the conflict in Burundi between 1993 and 2005 in which over 300,000 people were killed and over a million displaced with some fleeing to neighboring countries. He called for a spirit of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence. Currently Burundi is experiencing a period of political tension arising from the attempts of the government to amend the constitution in favor of the ruling party. The catholic Bishops of Burundi have offered to mediate and the Pope encouraged them to go ahead.
The Holy Father rreminded the bishops that the profound evangelization the faithful should take priority in the pastoral ministry because the Church needs witnesses who are deeply rooted in Christ. He noted that evangelization presupposes a well-trained clergy and urged the bishops to take care of the formation of seminarians, who in addition to the intellectual training, should also receive human, pastoral and solid spiritual formation. He expressed appreciation for the work of the religious in the country, especially in the fields of education, health and assistance to refugees. He asked the Bishops to follow them carefully, stressing that many new religious communities need their careful and prudent judgment to ensure a solid training to their members. The Pope invited the Bishops, each in his diocese, to strengthen collaboration with the laity, especially through the catholic movements and associations because they are playing an important role in the dissemination of the gospel values in society. He noted that particular attention should be given to youth especially in schools, helping to give them human and spiritual training so that they become good, reliable and trustworthy witnesses of Christ today and in future.




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