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Pope Affirms 'Catholic Action' Movement
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On the 140th anniversary of the Catholic Action Movement, the Holy Father affirmed the movement and called it's members to "contemplation, communion and Mission"
VATICAN CITY (VIS) - After praying the Regina Coeli today, the Pope addressed some remarks to 150,000 members of Catholic Action: adults, young people and children from Italy and 40 other countries around the world who were gathered in St. Peter's Square to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the foundation of their organisation.
Before the papal audience, they had participated in a Eucharistic celebration presided by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
Opening his address, the Holy Father mentioned the Saints, Blesseds, Venerables and Servants of God "who grew up in the ranks of Catholic Action" and whose images bedecked the colonnade of St. Peter's Square.
"Is it not perhaps possible, even today", Benedict XVI asked the young people and adults, "to make your lives a testimony of communion with the Lord, one that becomes a real masterpiece of saintliness? Is that not the goal of your association? This will be possible if Catholic Action continues to remain faithful to its own profound roots of faith, nourished by full adhesion to the Word of God, by unconditional love for the Church, by judicious participation in civic life, and by a constant commitment to education".
"Respond generously to this call to sanctity, using the forms most in keeping with your condition as lay people!" cried the Pope. "Continue to allow yourselves to be inspired by the three great 'commissions' that my venerated predecessor Servant of God John Paul II entrusted to you at Loreto, Italy, in 2004: contemplation, communion and mission".
The Pope then recalled how Catholic Action came into being as an "association of faithful marked by a special and direct link with the Pope, soon becoming a precious form of 'collaboration of the laity in the apostolate of the hierarchy'. ... This vocation still remains valid today", he said. "I encourage you, then, generously to continue your service to the Church".
Italy, said the Holy Father, "has always been able to rely on men and women who, formed by your association, are willing to provide disinterested service to the cause of the common good, in order to create a just ordering of society and the State".
And he went on: "Always be 'citizens worthy of the gospel' and 'ministers of Christian wisdom for a more human world'. This is the theme of your assembly and the commitment you assume today before the Italian Church, which is here represented by you, by the priests that assist you, by the bishops and by their president".
Benedict XVI also highlighted the "educational emergency" facing the Church in Italy, and called upon his audience to be "tireless heralds and well- prepared and generous educators.
In a Church called to face demanding trials of faithfulness, and tempted to adaptation, be courageous witnesses and prophets of evangelical radicalism; in a Church that daily faces a relativist, hedonist and consumer mentality, make room for rationalism under the banner of a faith that befriends intelligence, both in the area of popular mass culture and of more elaborate and more profound research; in a Church which calls people to the heroism of sanctity, respond without fear, trusting always in the mercy of God".
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