Pope Francis Tells Religious "In the immense field of mission that is the whole world, may Jesus always be your model..." to Missionary Oblates from Vatican

Clementina room
Monday, October 3, 2022
Dear brothers, good morning and welcome!
I am happy to meet you on the occasion of your General Chapter. I thank the Superior General - poor fellow, taken from the desert and brought here to Rome! - For his introduction, and I wish him and the new Council a serene and fruitful work. And we thank the Superior and the Councilors who have concluded their service.
You are a religious family dedicated to evangelization, and you are gathered to discern together the future of your mission in the Church and in the world. You have chosen, for this Chapter, a demanding theme, very similar to the one chosen for the next Jubilee of the Church: “Pilgrims of hope in communion”. It is a theme that summarizes your identity on the roads of the world, to which, as disciples of Jesus and followers of your founder Saint Eugene de Mazenod, you are called to bring the Gospel of hope, joy and peace. It is a world that, if on the one hand it seems to have reached goals that seemed unattainable, on the other hand it is still a slave to selfishness and full of contradictions and divisions. The cry of the earth and that of the poor, the wars and conflicts that shed blood on human history, the distressing situation of millions of migrants and refugees, an economy that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, are some aspects of a scenario where only the Gospel can keep the light of hope alight.
You have chosen to be pilgrims, to rediscover and live your condition as travelers in this world, alongside men and women, the poor and the least of the earth, to whom the Lord sends you to announce his Kingdom. Your Founder was also a traveler, at the origins of your religious family, when he went walking with his first companions in the villages of his native Provence, preaching the popular missions and bringing back to the faith the poor who had drifted away and that the ministers too of the Church had abandoned. This is a tragedy when the ministers of the Church abandon the poor.
Pilgrims and wayfarers, always ready to leave, like Jesus with his disciples in the Gospel. As a missionary Congregation, you are at the service of the Church in 70 countries around the world. To this Church, which the Founder taught you to love like a mother, offer your missionary enthusiasm and your life, participating in its exodus to the peripheries of the world loved by God, and living a charism that leads you to the most distant. , the poorest, those whom no one reaches. By walking on this path with love and fidelity, you, dear brothers, are rendering the Church a great service.
You have felt the call to rediscover your identity as priests and brothers united by the bonds of religious consecration. Pilgrims of hope, walk with the holy people of God, living your missionary vocation in fidelity, together with the laity and young people who share in the Church the charism of your holy Founder and who wish to be an active part of your mission. Saint Eugene taught you to look at the world with the eyes of the crucified Savior, this world for whose salvation Christ died on the cross.
You have already dedicated one of your previous General Chapters to the theme of hope, when you felt a particular call to be witnesses of this virtue in a world that seems to have lost it and that seeks elsewhere the source of its happiness. Being missionaries of hope means knowing how to read the signs of his hidden presence in people's daily lives. Learn to recognize hope among the poor to whom you are sent, who often manage to find it in the midst of the most difficult situations. Let yourself be evangelized by the poor you evangelize: they teach you the way of hope, for the Church and for the world.
Furthermore, you want to be witnesses of hope in communion. Communion today is a challenge on which the future of the world, of the Church and of consecrated life can depend. To be missionaries of communion we must first of all live it among ourselves, in our communities and in mutual relationships, and then cultivate it with everyone without exception. During your Chapter, you have often referred to the ecclesial journey of this time, which rediscovers the beauty and importance of "walking together". I urge you to be promoters of communion through expressions of solidarity, closeness, synodality and fraternity with all. May the Good Samaritan of the Gospel be an example and a stimulus to make you close to every person, with the love and tenderness that have prompted him to take care of the robbed and wounded man (cf. Lk 10: 29-37). Being close is an everyday job, because selfishness pulls you in, pulls you down, being close is going out.
In this Chapter you have often also evoked your commitment to the common home, trying to translate it into concrete decisions and actions. I encourage you to continue working in this direction. Our mother earth feeds us without asking for anything in return; she is up to us to understand that she cannot continue to do this if we do not take care of her as well. They are all aspects of that conversion to which the Lord calls us continuously. Returning to the common Father, returning to the sources, returning to the first love that prompted you to leave everything to follow Jesus: this is the soul of consecration and mission!
May your Founder, the charism he transmitted to you and his missionary vision be and remain points of reference for your life and your work; to remain rooted in your missionary vocation, especially by living the Founder's testament, in mutual love among you and in zeal for the salvation of souls. It is the heart of your mission and the secret of your life, and for this the Church still needs you. In the immense field of mission that is the whole world, may Jesus always be your model, as he was for Saint Eugene. Before the crucified Savior, he decided one day to offer his life so that everyone, especially the poor, could experience the same love of God that had brought him back to the path of faith.
This year you celebrated the memory of a special grace that Saint Eugene received two centuries ago in front of the statue of the Immaculate Virgin in the mission church in Aix-en-Provence. This renews the invitation to you to take Mary as your traveling companion, so that she always accompanies you on your pilgrimage. Mary as a pilgrim, Mary on a journey, Mary who got up in a hurry to go and serve. After saying her "yes" to God through the archangel Gabriel, she hurriedly left to go to her cousin Elizabeth, to share her gift and put herself at her service. May Mary be an example in this too, for your life and for your mission.
Dear brothers, I wish you a good conclusion of the Chapter and I accompany you with prayer. I cordially bless you and all your confreres, especially those who are sick and more fragile and those who are in difficulty at this moment. And you too, please, pray for me. Thank you!