FOR THE 2021 FRATERNITY CAMPAIGN OF THE CHURCH IN BRAZIL
Dear brothers and sisters of Brazil:
With the beginning of Lent, we are invited to a time of intense reflection and review of our lives. The Lord Jesus, who invites us to walk with Him through the desert towards the Easter victory over sin and death, becomes a pilgrim with us also in these times of pandemic. It summons and invites us to pray for those who have died, to give thanks for the selfless service of so many health professionals and to foster solidarity among people of good will. He calls us to take care of ourselves, of our health, and to care for one another, as the parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us (cf. Lk 10.25-37). We have to overcome the pandemic and we will do so to the extent that we are able to overcome divisions and unite around life. As I have indicated in the recent encyclical Fratelli tutti , "after the health crisis, the worst reaction would be to fall further into a consumer fever and new forms of selfish self-preservation" (n. 35). So that this is not the case, Lent is of great help to us, since it calls us to conversion through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
As has been a tradition for several decades, the Church in Brazil promotes the Fraternity Campaign as a concrete help to live this time of preparation for Easter. In this year 2021, with the theme "Fraternity and dialogue: commitment to love", the faithful are invited to "sit and listen to the other" and thus overcome the obstacles of a world that is often "a deaf world." In fact, when we get ready to dialogue, we establish "a paradigm of a receptive attitude, of one who overcomes narcissism and receives the other" ( ibid . , N. 48). And at the base of this renewed culture of dialogue is Jesus who, as the motto of this year's Campaign teaches: "It is our peace: he who made one of the two peoples" (Eph 2:14).
On the other hand, by promoting dialogue as a commitment of love, the Fraternity Campaign reminds us that Christians are the first to set an example, beginning with the practice of ecumenical dialogue. With the certainty that "we must always remember that we are pilgrims, and we are on pilgrimage together", in ecumenical dialogue we can truly "entrust our hearts to the companion on the journey without suspicion, without mistrust, and look first to what we seek: peace in the face of the only God ”(Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium , n. 244). It is, therefore, a reason for hope that this year, for the fifth time, the Fraternity Campaign will be carried out with the Churches that are part of the National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil (CONIC).
In this way, Brazilian Christians, in fidelity to the one Lord Jesus, who left us the command to love one another as he loved us (cf. Jn 13:34) and from "the appreciation of each human person as a creature called to be the son or daughter of God, they offer a valuable contribution for the construction of fraternity and for the defense of justice in society ”(Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti , n. 271). The fruitfulness of our testimony will also depend on our ability to dialogue, to find points of union and to translate them into actions in favor of life, especially the lives of the most vulnerable.
Wishing you the grace of a fruitful Ecumenical Fraternity Campaign, I send to each and every one of you my Apostolic Blessing, asking you not to stop praying for me.
Rome, St. John Lateran, February 17, 2021 .
Bulletin of the Press Office of the Holy See , February 17, 2021.