Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Pope Francis

5/7/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Each individual Christian and every community is missionary to the extent that they bring to others and live the Gospel, and testify to God's love for all, especially those experiencing difficulties.

Evangelical spirit, ecclesial spirit, missionary spirit. Three words - don't forget them: Evangelical spirit, ecclesial spirit, missionary spirit. Let us ask the Lord always to direct our minds and hearts to him, as living stones of the Church, so that all that we do, our whole Christian life, may be a luminous witness to his mercy and love.

Pope Francis greeting enthusiastic crowds

Pope Francis greeting enthusiastic crowds


By Pope Francis

Catholic Online (

5/7/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: evangelical, missionary, Pope Francis, Testimony, witness, Confraternities, general audience, new evangelization

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - In an inspiring homily delivered on May 5, 2013, during the Holy Mass offered especially for those involved in Confraternities committed to ecclesial, evangelical and missionary service, Pope Francis again sounded the major theme of his pontificate. Even with the rain, the crowds were immemse - in both number and enthusiasm. He told all who had gathered, and he tells each one of us, that we are living in a new missionary age and we are all called to be the missionaries. We offer the entire homily below.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, you were very courageous to come with this rain. May the Lord bless you very much!

As part of the journey of the Year of Faith, I am happy to celebrate this Eucharist dedicated in a special way to confraternities: a traditional reality in the Church, which in recent times has experienced renewal and rediscovery. I greet all of you with affection, particularly the confraternities which have come here from all over the world! Thank you for your presence and your witness!

1. In the Gospel we heard a passage from the farewell discourses of Jesus, as related by the evangelist John in the context of the Last Supper. Jesus entrusts his last thoughts, as a spiritual testament, to the apostles before he leaves them.

Today's text makes it clear that Christian faith is completely centred on the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Whoever loves the Lord Jesus welcomes him and his Father interiorly, and thanks to the Holy Spirit receives the Gospel in his or her heart and life. Here we are shown the centre from which everything must go forth and to which everything must lead: loving God and being Christ's disciples by living the Gospel.

When Benedict XVI spoke to you, he used this expression: evangelical spirit. Dear confraternities, the popular piety of which you are an important sign is a treasure possessed by the Church, which the bishops of Latin America defined, significantly, as a spirituality, a form of mysticism, which is "a place of encounter with Jesus Christ". Draw always from Christ, the inexhaustible wellspring; strengthen your faith by attending to your spiritual formation, to personal and communitarian prayer, and to the liturgy.

Down the centuries confraternities have been crucibles of holiness for countless people who have lived in utter simplicity an intense relationship with the Lord. Advance with determination along the path of holiness; do not rest content with a mediocre Christian life, but let your affiliation serve as a stimulus, above all for you yourselves, to an ever greater love of Jesus Christ.

2. The passage of the Acts of the Apostles which we heard also speaks to us about what is essential. In the early Church there was immediately a need to discern what was essential about being a Christian, about following Christ, and what is not. The apostles and the other elders held an important meeting in Jerusalem, a first "council", on this theme, to discuss the problems which arose after the Gospel had been preached to the pagans, to non-Jews.

It was a providential opportunity for better understanding what is essential, namely, belief in Jesus Christ who died and rose for our sins, and loving him as he loved us. But note how the difficulties were overcome: not from without, but from within the Church. And this brings up a second element which I want to remind you of, as Benedict XVI did, namely: ecclesial spirit. Popular piety is a road which leads to what is essential, if it is lived in the Church in profound communion with your pastors.

Dear brothers and sisters, the Church loves you! Be an active presence in the community, as living cells, as living stones. The Latin American Bishops wrote that the popular piety which you reflect is "a legitimate way of living the faith, a way of feeling that we are part of the Church" (Aparecida Document, 264). And this is beautiful, eh? A legitimate way of living the faith, a way of feeling that you are a part of the Church.

Love the Church! Let yourselves be guided by her! In your parishes, in your dioceses, be a true "lung" of faith and Christian life. A breath of fresh air. In this Square I see a great variety, first of umbrellas, and then of colors and signs. This is also the case with the Church: a great wealth and variety of expressions in which everything leads back to unity, the variety leads back to unity and unity to the encounter with Christ.

3. I would like to add a third expression which must distinguish you: missionary spirit. You have a specific and important mission, that of keeping alive the relationship between the faith and the cultures of the peoples to whom you belong. You do this through popular piety.

When, for example, you carry the crucifix in procession with such great veneration and love for the Lord, you are not performing a simple outward act; you are pointing to the centrality of the Lord's paschal mystery, his passion, death and resurrection which have redeemed us, and you are reminding yourselves first, as well as the community, that we have to follow Christ along the concrete path of our daily lives so that he can transform us.

Likewise, when you express profound devotion for the Virgin Mary, you are pointing to the highest realization of the Christian life, the one who by her faith and obedience to God's will, and by her meditation on the words and deeds of Jesus, is the Lord's perfect disciple (cf. Lumen Gentium, 53).

You express this faith, born of hearing the word of God, in ways that engage the senses, the emotions and the symbols of the different cultures. In doing so you help to transmit it to others, and especially the simple persons whom, in the Gospels, Jesus calls "the little ones". In effect, "journeying together towards shrines, and participating in other demonstrations of popular piety, bringing along your children and engaging other people, is itself a work of evangelization" (Aparecida Document, 264).

When you go to the shrines, when you bring the family, your children, you are doing the proper work of evangelization. You must go on doing so! May you also be true evangelizers! May your initiatives be "bridges", means of bringing others to Christ, so as to journey together with him. And in this spirit may you always be attentive to charity.

Each individual Christian and every community is missionary to the extent that they bring to others and live the Gospel, and testify to God's love for all, especially those experiencing difficulties. Be missionaries of God's love and tenderness! You are missionaries of the Mercy of God, which always pardons us, always awaits us. He loves us so much!

Evangelical spirit, ecclesial spirit, missionary spirit. Three words - don't forget them: Evangelical spirit, ecclesial spirit, missionary spirit. Let us ask the Lord always to direct our minds and hearts to him, as living stones of the Church, so that all that we do, our whole Christian life, may be a luminous witness to his mercy and love.

In this way we will make our way towards the goal of our earthly pilgrimage, towards that most beautiful sanctuary, the heavenly Jerusalem. There, there is no longer any temple: God himself and the Lamb are its temple; and the light of the sun and the moon give way to the glory of the Most High. Amen.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Europe

Is ancient Greek tomb for Alexander the Great's friend Hephaestion? Debate continues Watch

Image of After his death in 325 B.C., Alexander the Great reportedly ordered that shrines be constructed throughout the empire. Hephaestion died less than a year before the Macedonian leader.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri declared that the mysterious Amphipolis monument is a tomb to Hephaestion, Alexander the Great's best friend who died less than a year before Alexander did.Fragmentary inscriptions link the monument to Hephaestion. Other archaeologists ... continue reading

10,000 copies of Germany's constitution was printed in Arabic to help nearly 800,000 migrants integrate Watch

Image of


Germany translated the first 20 articles of its constitution, which concerns basic rights such as freedom of speech, into Arabic for refugees to learn in an attempt to help immigrants integrate. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the moment, Germany struggles to ... continue reading

Segregation of Jewish and Muslim pupils in a French school echoes chilling Nazi segregation Watch

Image of


Jewish and Muslim students at the Piedallous primary school in Auxere, Burgundy were ordered to wear disks around their necks. The incident brought with it memories of Nazi segregation and caused an uproar. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - Daily Mail ... continue reading

German refugee camps plagued with rape and child abuse Watch

Image of The European migrant crisis continues to grow. Rape and sexual abuse are already being reported inside German refugee camps.


Rape and sexual abuse is now becoming a major problem in several German refugee asylums as the country tries to cope with their migrant crisis. HOLLYWOOD, CA (Catholic Online) - Refugees are facing several problems inside overcrowded refugee centers across the country ... continue reading

OVERRUN AND OUT OF PATIENCE: Immigrants quickly wear out welcome in Germany Watch

Image of In Germany, there are a few terrorist agents mixed in with those who say they are fleeing the brutal persecution of Islamic State, when in fact they themselves are ISIS.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Germany was lauded by the international community for taking in the large influx of immigrants feeling violence in Syria and Iraq. However . this generosity has a heavy price. Many of these so-called immigrants have left their native lands to make their ... continue reading

Expert confident forensic remains of fabled 'Mona Lisa' found Watch

Image of Most everyone is familiar with the image of a young woman with an enigmatic smile, her hands folded on her lap.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," perhaps the world's most famous painting, has cast a spell across the imagination. Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, is thought to have been the portrait's model. Bone fragments have ... continue reading

British mother of six brutally assaulted in acid attack Watch

Image of Thirty-seven-year-old Carla Whitlock says that she is still trying to come to terms with how her life has been changed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In what is common in India - but most unusual in the United Kingdom, a 37-year-old mother of six is struggling to come to terms after suffering a vicious acid attack. Witnesses saw her face visibly melt, and doctors say she will probably lose the sight in one ... continue reading

EU holds summit to discuss migrant crisis Watch

Image of The migrant crisis has resulted in over 160,000 eligible refugees with no country to settle in.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

European Union leaders met in a summit Wednesday evening in Brussels to talk about reinforcing surveillance of the frontiers, particularly sea routes into Greece where hundreds of refugees die in the midst of attempts to reach Greek islands. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA ... continue reading

Majority of migrants entering Europe NOT Syrian refugees Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The migrant crisis hitting Europe has driven headlines over the past month, tugging at the heartstrings of people wanting to help desperate refugees running from a war-torn country. However, new reports from Europe show that "only one in five migrants claiming asylum" ... continue reading

Hungarian officials approved for weapon use against migrants Watch

Image of Hungarian officials can now use non-lethal weapons against migrants trying to illegally cross borders.


Hungarian parliament have granted police and the Hungarian army the power to keep migrants out of their country. Fears of Europe being overran by migrants continue to increase. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban ... continue reading

All Europe News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 4th, 2015 Image

St. Francis of Assisi
October 4: Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in ... Read More