Francis’ invitation to more than 2,000 young parish leaders of the Italian Catholic Action gathered in the Vatican hall of Paul VI. is to be “leaven” in society and to continue to contribute to the growth of the Church in brotherhood.
The experience of the parish is no longer what it was in its time, it was a different social and church context, when the parish – with its parish priest – was the central point of reference for people’s lives, however, for more than 2,000 young Catholic leaders of the Parishion Action which received by Pope Francis this morning in the Paul VI hall. in the Vatican, that reality is a fact. And despite the fact that the current socio-cultural situation is very different and that individualism, closedness and worldliness often overlap, for the Pope these young people today are the “leaven” of the Church and live the parish just like him.
“For us, for me and for you, for our journey of faith and growth, the experience of the parish was and is important. It is a “normal” environment in which we learned to listen to the Gospel, get to know the Lord Jesus, freely offer service, pray in community, share projects and initiatives, and feel part of God’s holy people.
love for the church
Starting from that common love for the parish “intertwined” with the associative experience of Catholic Action, the Holy Father emphasized the importance of being part of the Christian community: participating, sharing, cooperating, praying together. This also means being “Christians who are interested in social reality and make their own contribution”, people who “care” about others and who are convinced that “human misery is not a fate that falls on the unfortunate few, but almost always the fruit of injustice that must eradicate”
“This is very important: to learn through experience that in the Church we are all brothers by baptism; that we are all protagonists and responsible; that we have various gifts, all for the good of the community; that life is a call, follow Jesus, that faith is a gift to be given, to bear witness”.
After recognizing the importance of the “school” that is the parish and the Catholic Action for so many young people who have given their testimony both in the Church and in society, in various professions, and above all as lay believers, Pope Francis returned to the Istič point to is, although from different generations, “common love for the Church and passion for the parish, which is the Church in the home, among people”.
grow in brotherhood
Faced with this need to contribute to the growth of the Church in fraternity, the Holy Father recognized that the weakness of the community dimension can be frightening at the moment, a situation exacerbated by the pandemic. The reality is that today there is no will for meetings, discussions and assemblies, which on the one hand – the Pope pointed out – can be good, because the Catholic Action “does not have to be a Catholic “session”, and the Church does not go through with meetings.” But on the other hand, the Pope admitted, there is also a lot of individualism even in Catholic communities.
“Individualism, closedness in the private sphere or in small groups, tendency to “distance” relationships also affect Christian communities. If you look, we are all somewhat influenced by this culture. That’s why we have to react, and you can too, starting with working on yourself”.
A job, the Pope explained, that requires dedication and perseverance, because “lBrotherhood is not improvised and is not built only with emotions, slogans or events”, but it is work that everyone does on themselves together with the Lord. In this context, Francis invited young people to re-read the Inciter section Christ lives under the name “Paths of brotherhood”, where he points out that the origin of brotherhood “isit is getting out of oneself, opening up to others and meeting them”. And it’s not about “alienation” – warned the Pope – but about “relationship” in which we recognize each other and grow together.
“The fundamental reality for us is that in the Church we experience this movement in Christ, through the Eucharist: He comes out of himself and enters us so that we come out of ourselves and join him, and we find ourselves in him. new, free and oblative communion. Brotherhood in the Church is based on Christ, on his presence in us and among us. Thanks to Him we greet each other, tolerate each other, forgive each other”.
To be leaven in society
It is precisely in this relationship with Christ, the animated Spirit, that Christians can be “leaven” in society, wherever they live: “the leaven of humanity, because Jesus Christ is the perfect Man, and his Gospel is a humanizing force”. In this sense, the Pope reminded that this is exactly the phrase used by the parish leaders of the Catholic Action, “to be leaven in this world”, to be leaven “from within”, because otherwise, the Pope warned, “if by being in the world we become worldly, we lose the newness of Christ and have nothing more to say or give.”
After mentioning numerous young saints and blesseds who are leavened “in the world, but not of the world”, Francis said goodbye to the young people, recommending that since October is the month of the rosary, “learn from the Virgin Mary to keep and meditate on the mysteries of Jesus in your heart. Let them reflect every day on the joyful, bright, painful and magnificent events of their lives, because this will enable them to “live the ordinary in an extraordinary way, that is, with the newness of the Spirit, the newness of the Gospel”.