Pope Francis say "Evangelizing must be the passion of each baptized person...to live in a permanent way out in order to remain faithful to our identity. " to Catholic Action
LETTER FROM HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
ON THE 30 ANNIVERSARY OF THE INTERNATIONAL FORUM OF CATHOLIC ACTION
Vatican City, November 9, 2021
This celebration, which looks towards a founding moment, inevitably makes us look back in grateful contemplation. In that looking back we meet dreamers who dared to look forward with hope. That is why you are here today.
In that gaze, we cannot forget a deep dreamer who gave the beginning and encouragement to the creation of this forum; and that today he enjoys seeing them celebrating these 30 years: Cardinal Eduardo Pironio; he who with a very great love for Catholic Action and full confidence in its mission said: “ On the path of Catholic Action there have been lights and shadows, disorientation and fatigue, the fear of being perhaps overtaken by the new times and needs of the Church. I believe that now is the providential moment of the Spirit for a profound renewal of his spiritual, doctrinal, apostolic and missionary commitment. The celebration of this Forum will undoubtedly help this, which wants to open to other countries the fertility of an associative experience that is rich in its fruits and so full of hope ”.
Pironio was a man with deep roots, of memory anchored in the dynamism of history as a Kairos, a strong time of salvation, a time of work, trial, purification and hope. He loved Catholic Action and believed in his lay missionary vocation. The Church can bear witness that Catholic Action opened new perspectives in the field of the responsibility of the laity in Evangelization. Many evangelized and formed by Catholic Action put truth, depth and Gospel in civil areas, many times forbidden to faith. The lay saints and blesseds of Catholic Action are a treasure for the Church. Those who were "the saints next door" of so many communities.
However, history is not linear: on the path of Catholic Action, as in that of the Church itself, there were, are and will be lights and shadows, moments of profound disorientation, of fatigue, of indifference, of fear of having been left behind. surpassed by the demands of the new times. The great temptation in times of crisis or difficulty is to shut up to take care of what little you have, waiting, hiding and cherishing memories, the arrival of better times. The parable of the talents is a true reflection of what happens when this temptation is installed and transformed into a way of being, of being in the world living the reality of an unreality.
In order not to succumb to temptation, so as not to forget who we are and where we are going: it is essential for us to remember over and over again - as the people of God did in the desert with the promise that the Lord himself had made them - of where we come from, what is our origin, knowing the heart of the mother who one day gave birth to us.
And Catholic Action has its origin in the very bosom of the Catholic Church. It has no founder or very particular charisma. Its purpose is that of the Church itself: evangelization. It does not assume as its own one or another particular field of apostolate, but rather the purpose of the Church: the proclamation of the Gospel, to all men and women. So the "proper charism" is not having anything of your own but making yourself available to all the needs of the Church in each place. As a Church, we experience that, with the power of the Spirit, we need to respond here and now to the cries of the world. In order to listen to them we have to go out, to be an outgoing Church that approaches every man and every woman who suffers in her flesh or in her spirit the pain of this time in a Samaritan way.
We are still going through the first global pandemic in human history, which affected every country in our world without difference. With the pandemic, the state of vulnerability suffered by hundreds of millions of men and women on our planet who have no possibility of having a chance has been revealed. Vulnerability put before us, the risk of dying without any kind of foresight and regardless of where we live, moral condition, religious belief or socio-economic position. All humanity is affected equally. Vulnerability has managed to overcome everything that divided us and made us unequal. We discover ourselves equal in need, although different in possibilities.
As I said at the beginning of the pandemic: “ The storm unmasks our vulnerability and exposes those false and superfluous assurances with which we had built our agendas, our projects, routines and priorities. It shows us how we had slept and abandoned what nourishes, sustains and gives strength to our life and our community. The storm reveals all the attempts to box and forget what nourished the souls of our peoples; all those attempts to anesthetize with apparent “saving” routines, incapable of appealing to our roots and evoking the memory of our elderly, thus depriving us of the immunity necessary to face adversity ”. Everyone, including myself, has felt this experience of helplessness.
We came from a time strongly marked by globalization; economic, cultural globalization, etc. ... with its successes, but also with the structures of sin that have emerged from it. Everything is global, even the virus has gone global!
You as a forum have a global mission and as you turn your first thirty years; celebrating them is a challenge and an invitation. I challenge to discover more and more and in a stronger way where the life and history of our peoples passes, without prejudice, without fear, without classifications and without feeling like regulators of anyone's faith. Invitation to be there, where your interests, your concerns, your deepest wounds and your greatest anxieties go. We know that there is no greater poverty than not having God, that is, living without the faith that gives meaning to life, without hope that gives us strength to work, without feeling loved by someone who does not disappoint. That is the place and the town where Catholic Action must carry out its mission.
Faced with the globalization of indifference, feel that the work of building bridges and creating communion is the profound call that God is making to you. The Church is Communion for the mission. Communion is not an idea, it is a realization and the mission is not just another activity, it is the essence of ecclesial life. This supposes, for Catholic Action communion with the diocesan pastoral care and its pastors, a formation that is experienced in a missionary way. Catholic Action must not form for the future Christian, but must and needs to accompany the faith process of the present Christian, according to the characteristics of the stage of life in which they are.
Communion is not an installation but a certainty of the presence of the Lord for the mission. Evangelizing must be the passion of each baptized person, of each member of Catholic Action, to live in a permanent way out in order to remain faithful to our identity. " Catholic Action has to rediscover the passion for the proclamation of the Gospel, the only possible salvation for a world that would otherwise fall into despair " (Paul VI). Catholic Action needs to create spaces of presence, of witness, of missionary evangelization. In this way he lives the mission of the Church which is: to be a servant of humanity inserted in the Church of Christ that takes place in our Diocese and in our Parish, in perfect communion with the Universal Church.
I thank God for all the work they have done in these thirty years, which has undoubtedly been with a lot of effort. Above all, in the early days, when technology did not allow them to reach different parts of the world so easily and everything had to be " done by lung ". I thank you for all the solidarity and accompaniment initiatives to the most peripheral dioceses, especially those of the third world where I am aware that the presence of Catholic Action is strongly missionary and supports the work of the local churches.
Before finishing I want to ask you three things:
- May the forum feel very deeply the urgency of working for fraternity and social friendship as means of rebuilding a wounded world.
- That they sow in the hearts of all that authentic Christian spirituality is the one that sinks in the desire for holiness and this is a path that begins in the Beatitudes and that is carried out from Matthew 25; loving and working for our most suffering brothers.
- May the spirit that animates all its projects and works be that of being a Church on the way out that lives the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing; and let it show.
Thank you for all that you do and for all that you will do. Don't forget to pray for me. May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin take care of you.