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Archive of September 7, 2009

Episcopalian religious community enters the Catholic Church in Maryland

Baltimore, Md., Sep 7, 2009 (CNA) - Ten religious sisters and a priest who were formerly part of an Episcopal religious community were received into full communion with the Catholic Church at a Mass in Maryland on Thursday. One sister said God will use them to bring unity to the Church.

The women were members of the Society of All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor. The former Episcopal priest, Fr. Warren Tanghe, was their chaplain.

“We know our beliefs and where we are,” the sisters’ superior, Mother Christina Christie, told the Baltimore Sun. “We were drifting farther apart from the more liberal road the Episcopal Church is traveling. We are now more at home in the Roman Catholic Church.”

The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop of Baltimore Edwin O’Brien at the chapel of the sisters’ Cantonsville convent, according to the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

“The spiritual well-being of all of the All Saints’ Sisters is our priority and we will do everything we can to support those who have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church as well as the two sisters who remain Anglican,” he pledged.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Archbishop O’Brien said the convent has been a center of “overwhelming grace for so many people” and thanked the sisters for their “sterling and steadfast witness to consecrated life.”

The sisters had been considering conversion for several years.

The Episcopal Church has been riven by controversy over theology and sexual ethics. Its most recent General Convention gave permission to ordain practicing homosexuals to any ministry and also began writing prayers to bless same-sex unions.

"As we interpret Scripture, it does not give you license to be actively involved in a same-sex relationship," Mother Christina said. "It is not the person we have a problem with. It is what that person is doing. And now that the Episcopal Church has given permission to bless these partnerships, it is way off the boat."

Mother Christina, who has been a consecrated religiosu since 1966, said the sisters used to believe the Archbishop of Canterbury had the authority to stop those acting contrary to Scriptures but now they believe he does not.

"The Catholic Magisterium has an authority that says the buck stops here," she remarked.

Sister Catherine Grace Bowen explained to the Baltimore Sun that there is much similarity between Roman Catholic and Anglo-Catholic practice. In both churches, sacraments are “a way of life.”

A sister for almost fifty years, she said God will use the sisters “to bring unity” to His Church.

Last year the sisters contacted the Archdiocese of Baltimore to investigate the possibility of entering into full communion with the Catholic Church. They will continue to reside in their convent, where their order has resided since 1917. The order first arrived in Baltimore in 1872.

Tanghe, the sisters’ chaplain, is discerning the possibility of future formation and ordination as a Catholic priest.
Two of the sisters from the community have decided not to leave the Episcopal Church and will continue to reside with the religious community.

“We are still a community and all of us made the same life vows,” Mother Christina told the Baltimore Sun.

The sisters have told the archbishop they desire that the community continue its service to the poor as a Catholic religious institute. In addition to conducting retreats and opening their chapel to their neighbors, the sisters work with the terminally ill at Joseph Richey House in Baltimore and also work with children and the poor.

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Palestinian youth touched by hope thanks to Catholic charity

Bethlehem, West Bank, Sep 7, 2009 (CNA) -

Although Bethlehem is partitioned from East Jerusalem by a 25-foot high Israeli wall, behind the massive concrete barrier there are places where charity heals the lives of the poor and disabled.

On a recent trip to the area, I discovered that the Pontifical Mission-Jerusalem, is at work in these hardscrabble confines.

Gabi, a project manager for the Pontifical Mission in Palestine, met me in Manger Square just outside of the Church of the Nativity, where Jesus was born some 2,000 years ago. Soon we were joined by Rodolf Saadeh, who also helps coordinate and fund the mission’s numerous charitable efforts in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

These two men endeavored to explain both the great work being done and the needs of the children in the area by taking me on a tour of the places benefiting from the Pontifical Mission, an agency of the Holy See, established by Pope Pius XII in 1949 "to make available to every exiled or needy Palestinian the charity of the Pope and of all Catholics of the world," Saadeh explained.

The first stop on our visit was a government-run K-8 school that had clearly seen better days. The teachers and maintenance staff walked us through a classroom that had paint peeling from the walls, desks that were falling apart and water damage due to a bad roof. The school also suffered problems from a sewage system that periodically backed up.

Gabi noted that the Pontifical Mission is helping fund repairs to fix the problems the school could not afford, despite being a publicly funded school. The goal, he said, is to provide a good learning environment for the children.

We jumped back into the car and headed toward the Welfare Home for Girls. Saadeh asked if I noticed how recklessly the Palestinians drove as they sped up and down Bethlehem's hilly streets. "It's because they have nowhere to go. They feel trapped," he suggested.

Arriving at the Home for Girls a short time later, we entered a house that serves as a refuge and a place for healing. The girls who live there are strangers to a normal life, having been abused or neglected, sometimes by their own families. But away from the torment of their former lives, these teenage girls are able to recover from the trauma they have undergone and start over.

An architect who volunteers his time and expertise, explained that soon the girls will have a new gym, a welcome change to the dilapidated concrete annex they currently use.

By far the most moving encounter during my brief trip to Bethlehem was a stop at the Al-Ala'iya School for the Blind. One could sense the love that the school's teachers freely gave their students as they cared for these otherwise neglected blind boys.

Al-Ala'iya has a unique teaching model, with the blind boys being taught by teachers who themselves are blind. After learning how to make brooms, brushes and even weave a rug, these students will have a way to make a living, inspite of their blindness.

One particular boy, Abadeh Rashed Mutawe, comes from a large family that cannot give him the education he needs. As a shepherd, his father is not home often enough to help raise him, while his illiterate mother is struggling to provide for his three sisters and five brothers, ranging in age from 8 to 30 years old. Blindness also affects Mutawe's three sisters and one of his brothers.

Mutawe attends Al-Ala'iya and receives an education with financial support from the Pontifical Mission.

As I toured the school, Saadeh explained that the generosity of numerous Catholics has helped create a place where blind children are treated with dignity and raised above the confines of poverty.

The generosity of these boys and their teachers was confirmed as they announced to the class that they would like to give me a gift. "Take anything you want," they said. So I selected a blanket woven by one of the boys -- one I still have today.

The Pontifical Mission operates in conjunction with the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. Its website can be found at www.cnewa.org.

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Expanded women’s care center holds dedication in South Bend

South Bend, Ind., Sep 7, 2009 (CNA) - Just as the needs of pregnant women in St. Joseph County continue to grow, so does the ability of the Women’s Care Center to continue serving them.  With 14 pregnancy help centers operating throughout northern Indiana, lower Michigan and in Ohio, the office located just down the street from where the very first Care Center opened 25 years ago has expanded with Bishop John M. D’Arcy’s blessing.

 

He was on hand recently for the dedication ceremony. A supporter since the beginning, Bishop D’Arcy prayed especially for the Women’s Care Center and all who come there.

 

“This will be a place where you will give counseling and advice to women in need, to save the unborn,” said Bishop D’Arcy to a room full of care center supporters and staff — “a place, which respects the dignity of the human person. By this great work, for the most defenseless among us, you will help all of us continue in the journey where Jesus Christ will become closer to his people.”

 

Located at the corner of LaSalle and Notre Dame Avenue, this Women’s Care Center office will do more than house the corporate offices and provide central storage for all the donated baby items. It will allow counselors to continue serving those in need by offering pregnancy tests and helping women choose life for their babies. Women’s Care Center President Ann Manion says they also hope to make a positive impact on the problem women have accessing prenatal medical care in St. Joseph County.

 

“That has reached a 16-year low in our community,” explained Manion, “and so we were becoming concerned our clients were not receiving medical prenatal care.”

 

Manion said the Women’s Care Center joined with Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical Center to find a way to work together in solving that problem.

 

“We started seeing all kinds of other benefits because as the women are coming back for their prenatal care, we can walk the path of life with them, and help them with parenting classes and goal counseling, Crib Club and all the things we already do. So they’re not only getting medical care, they’re keeping in touch with us.”

 

Manion said care center clients, many of whom come in to have a pregnancy test and are facing an unplanned pregnancy, receive nine months of prenatal care with the midwives. She said ultimately they may be joined by family practice residents, and those details are being considered.

 

The new addition adds about another 3,000 square feet of space to the already 3,000 square feet that was utilized for counseling rooms, storage and the Crib Club.

 

Parenting classes will now have a dedicated room and no longer need to be held in the reception area. The new basement will serve as the hub for collecting and distributing donated items, such as baby clothes, formula and cribs. The counselors themselves will have more elbow room to provide services to their clients, and the nurse who provides nearly 40 hours a week of ultrasounds will be able to continue that vital service.

 

“Over 90-percent of abortion-minded women choose life after looking at an ultrasound picture,” said Manion. “And that’s abortion-minded, not just everybody. It’s such a powerful, powerful bonding tool.”

 

Foundation Director Bobby Williams had a long list of benefactors to thank, many of whom were on hand to celebrate this latest victory for the culture of life.

 

According to Williams, 250 times a day a young woman comes through the doors of a Women’s Care Center, and that one out of three babies born in St. Joseph County are from women who have received help from the care center.

 

“There have been countless children saved from abortion,” Williams told the packed room, thanking them for their ongoing support. “Countless families have been made whole.”

 

The Women’s Care Center is a not-for-profit pregnancy help center, dedicated to helping women choose life for their babies. In her 25 years of service, Manion has never drawn a paycheck and she says the center is grateful for the years of dedicated support they receive from the community and from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

 

Reprinted with permission from Today's Catholic newspaper, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

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Newman Centers provide students a faith home away from home

Phoenix, Ariz., Sep 7, 2009 (CNA) - Even though classes at Northern Arizona University wouldn’t start until the following morning, the Flagstaff campus was filled with excited freshmen and fretful-looking parents Aug. 23.

 

On the mall outside the student union, organizations and groups vied for the new students’ interest and time.

 

And the requests won’t stop just because school has started, warned Fr. Matt Lowry during his homily at Holy Trinity Catholic Newman Center’s annual “Mass on the Grass.”

 

In fact, he said, much of college life is determining the most important question facing everyone: Whom will you serve?

 

For Fr. Lowry, part of that question was answered for him when he was assigned to be chaplain of NAU’s Newman Center this past July. He was also named associate vocations director for the Diocese of Phoenix.

 

For the foreseeable future, at least, he’ll be serving the students at the state university, which is exciting, but also a little daunting.

 

“College students force you to be intellectually honest,” the priest said. “They’re seeking the truth, which means, as a minister, I have to be very prepared.”

 

Newman Centers have to be a source of spiritual growth and a strong community for Catholic students at a state school who are often far from family members and their local parish, Fr. Lowry said.

 

“Since we don’t have a Catholic university in the diocese, the Newman Center becomes the place where students have Catholic formation,” he said. “It’s a critical time in a person’s life. They leave home and parish and they need support for their faith.”

 

During an Aug. 23 welcoming Mass at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center at Arizona State University in Tempe, Dominican Father James Thompson encouraged the students to use the center — and, more broadly, their time in college — to grow their faith.

 

“I dare you to question your faith,” he said. “I’ll go even further. I demand that you question it so that you achieve an adult faith. That’s what you’re here for at the Newman Center. Own your faith and question it with integrity.”

 

Fr. Thompson said that through honest questioning, students would arrive at the truth, regardless of their chosen major. In a homily that echoed the thought of the great Dominican Thomas Aquinas, he said students studying the sciences, the arts and philosophy could be led to the ultimate Truth.

 

ASU’s Newman Center offers a myriad of opportunities for students to “own” their faith, and the list of ways they can get involved grows every year.

 

“The more students are involved in a community, the more retention levels go up,” said Lourdes Alonso, director of campus ministry and a past president of ASU’s Council of Religious Advisors.

 

She said consistent comments praise the Dominicans’ “welcoming influence and successful ability to reach students and young professionals who have left the Church or who have drifted from regular Mass attendance.”

 

Alonso encourages Newman Center volunteers to always make a connection with the students who might be inquiring about something simple like Mass times.

 

“Engage them in a conversation by asking their name, where they’re from or what they’re studying,” Alonso said.

 

It can all go a long way to making the students feel comfortable at the Newman Center, and that will get them coming back for more.

 

“Last year I went to a College Night and got plugged right into it,” said Thomas Kupitz, a sophomore at ASU. “It’s a good atmosphere of peers.”

 

He noted that opportunities available at the Newman Center cater to the whole individual by offering service projects and socializing, small faith sharing and retreats.

 

“The environment has pushed us to go and do stuff,” Kupitz said. “There are activities to keep you engaged.”

 

Sense of community

 

Up in Flagstaff, second-year student Catherine Eyer told a similar story. She began going to Sunday Mass at the Newman Center and then attended XLT, which combines adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with praise and worship music, some Scripture and preaching.

 

It was her experience at XLT that drew Eyer into the Newman Center. This year, she was manning the signup table before the Mass on the Grass outside the center’s chapel.

 

“I just like to be involved in things,” she said. “Most of the people I’ve met here are phenomenal. There’s a definite community. It’s like a close-knit family.”

 

Fr. Lowry hopes the Catholic community at NAU will grow even closer. He plans to do his part by “being visible” on campus and at the center. He’ll be celebrating Mass and hearing confessions daily, and he’s already spruced up the center’s front yard with some sand for volleyball games.

 

Fr. Lowry didn’t hide the fact that he’ll also be spending his days fostering vocations at NAU and supporting students in discernment.

 

“College is the time when we discern all our vocations,” he said. “The bishop was purposeful in giving me my two titles: chaplain of the Newman Center and associate vocations director.”

 

But for many of the new freshmen and returning students who attended Mass at either Newman Center, perhaps the most apparent thing was that even away from home, they still have a family in their brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

“It’s just so amazing to have a Catholic community on campus,” Eyer said.

 

Printed with permission from The Catholic Sun, newspaper for the Diocese of Phoenix.

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Filmmaker Roland Joffe to make movie on life of St. Josemaria Escriva

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sep 7, 2009 (CNA) - A movie based on the life of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, has begun filming in Argentina under the direction of Roland Joffe, director of "The Mission" and "The Killing Fields."

The film "There Be Dragons" is a film set during the brutal Spanish Civil War in the second half of the 1930s, Catholic San Francisco reports. It is expected to be released in summer or fall 2010 and has a budget of about $30 million.

Joffe also wrote the screenplay for the film. He told an August 23 press conference that he has creative freedom over the project and had earlier rejected an offer to film an Opus Dei-provided script.

Discussing St. Josemaria, he noted that the priest "made no attempt to influence the people he worked with in terms of their politics."

"At that time, that’s pretty heroic. That’s a time when almost all human beings were faced with making extraordinary choices."

Joffe told the press conference that filmmakers found themselves making a film about love, both human love and divine love, and also about hate, betrayal and mistakes.

"I don’t know if there’s anybody who wants to live his life without meaning. So it’s also a story about people trying to find meaning about their lives, and that’s a powerful kind of story," he added, Catholic San Francisco reports.

The director said that fiction is "a way of understanding the truth" and acknowledged that he took "certain liberties" if the changes could communicate the personal issues of the time.

He said he was taken with St. Josemaria’s idea that a way to God is found through everyday life.

Alluding to the controversy over Opus Dei, a Catholic prelature which was negatively portrayed in Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code, Joffe said he has been to many Opus Dei centers and has met many members in his research. He has yet to counter "anything odd-seeming," he reported.

Fr. John Wauk, an Opus Dei priest and professor of literature and communication of the faith at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, was asked by Joffe to serve as an advisor on the film.

Joffe said Fr. Wauk explained what he knew about St. Josemaria and what it means to be a priest, for which the director was grateful.

"There Be Dragons" features actor Charlie Cox in the role of St. Josemaria Escriva. Cox previously worked on "Stardust" and "Casanova." Wes Bentley plays Manolo, a friend of the priest.

Ukrainian actress Olga Kurylenko plays Ildiko, a Hungarian woman who sides with the Republican movement defeated by the rightist coalition lead by Gen. Francisco Franco.

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New service to help property owners bar abortions from their land - forever

Houston, Texas, Sep 7, 2009 (CNA) - A physician who was inspired to join the pro-life movement after he was called upon to save the life of a baby boy who briefly survived an abortion has now launched a document preparation service to help individuals prepare and file pro-life deed restrictions on their properties.

Dr. Ron Bryce, M.D., said that abortion became "deeply personal" to him after he had to treat an aborted baby boy twenty years ago.

"My little patient gave it a human face," he added.

According to his account, reproduced online at the Journal of Biblical Medical Ethics, in the 1980s in a county hospital in Fort Worth, Texas Dr. Bryce had to treat a child who briefly survived an abortion.

"Although strong enough to live awhile outside the womb, he was too young to continue to live after being separated from his mother. His lungs were not developed adequately to support his respiratory needs," Dr. Bryce said.

"There was nothing medical science could do to save him. Death was inevitable, but I was to care for him until that time."

Speaking in a Wednesday press release, he said it can be frustrating for regular citizens repulsed by abortion to "watch what's going on in Washington," so he "decided to create a service that would empower them to save babies' lives, one property at a time," he explained.

Bryce and his wife Lydia have founded Pro-Life Properties of Texas, LLC to help individuals prepare and file pro-life deed restrictions on their property.

The service is available to all property owners in Texas and allows them to restrict abortion-related activities on any property in perpetuity.

Bryce’s press release reported that individuals "can deed-restrict residences, stand-alone buildings, shopping centers or raw land.

"Many would be surprised to find out there are Texas abortion clinics in former residences, in former stores and offices right down the street from schools and churches and in shopping centers where you go to pick up a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk," Bryce said.

The service’s online process, which costs $77 per property, reportedly takes little time. The deed restriction is filed in the proper county within a month and a copy of the document is sent to the owner.

"Together we can make a lasting difference for our children and grandchildren," Bryce said.

For more information, visit: www.prolifeproperties.com

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New book focuses on pseudo-Catholic colleges and organizations

Hamden, Conn., Sep 7, 2009 (CNA) - Dr. Anne Hendershott, a former faculty member at the University of San Diego has recently released her new book, Status Envy: the Politics of Higher Education, in which she explains that Catholic higher education is distancing itself from Catholic teaching in order to keep up with its secular counterparts.

Hendershott spoke to the Catholic Transcript, newspaper for the Archdiocese of Hartford,  about how her experiences as a 15-year faculty member at the University of San Diego helped her to write her latest book on Catholic higher education. 

In a description on the cover of her book explains that since Catholic universities are not generally regarded as “top-notch,” they strive to define their success and status based on secular standards.  Because of this, faculty and administration work to “distance universities from Catholic ideas and curriculum,” she said.  Hendershott explains that some schools “have distanced themselves so far from their Catholic origins that the church no longer recognizes them as Catholic institutions.”

Some Catholic colleges and universities “have these beautiful statues and they take their prospective students and their moms and dads and say, ‘This is our statue of Mary,’ and, 'This is our grotto,’” Hendershott explained in her interview.  “They don’t say, ‘This is where we have the transgender fashion show.’ They have this façade of pious people. But what goes on inside … it’s fake. I worked at one for 15 years. I know how fake it is."

She also revealed that during her time at the university, she was one of the few pro-life faculty members. 

"I kept saying, ‘What are we doing with internships at Planned Parenthood?’ You’re not popular when you say things like that because all of the pro-choice feminists on campus will hate you. And they did," she noted.

Hendershott moved back to her home of Connecticut five years ago and is now a professor of urban studies at The King’s College in New York.  "I love it. It’s a place where I’m allowed to be Catholic," she said.  She also mentioned that she did not attend a Catholic college as a student.  “That’s how I stayed Catholic, and I didn’t let my children go to Catholic colleges."

In addition to writing, she also currently focuses on "pseudo-Catholic organizations like Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good" as well as Voice of the Faithful and the roles they play in her state.

Hendershott’s previous writings include: The Politics of Abortion; The Politics of Deviance, and The Reluctant Caregivers: Learning to Care for a Loved One with Alzheimer's.

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Pope asks Mary to protect families from falling apart

Rome, Italy, Sep 7, 2009 (CNA) - On Sunday afternoon, Pope Benedict XVI  visited the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of the Oak as part of his pastoral visit to area surrounding Viterbo. While at the shrine the Pope prayed before the Blessed Sacrament and read out a prayer calling upon the Virgin Mary to protect families that are at risk of being divided.

Among those present at the event were cloistered nuns from various convents in the Viterbo area. Addressing the religious the Holy Father said: "To you I entrust my intentions, the intentions of the pastor of this diocese and the needs of everyone who lives in this land. In this Year for Priests I especially entrust you with clergy, seminarians and vocations. ... Offer the Lord the sacrifice of your lives for their sanctification and for the good of souls.”
 
Returning to his request for his prayer in his role as a successor to St. Peter, Benedict XVI asked Mary to extend her “maternal protection" to him and “the Church entrusted to his care.” “Queen of peace,” he prayed, “obtain the gift of harmony and peace for peoples and for all humankind.”
 
The Holy Father also prayed that the Blessed Virgin would "keep our families united, which today suffer threats from all sides, and make them centers of serenity and harmony where patient dialogue dissipates difficulties and contrasts. Watch especially over those that are divided or in crisis."
 
Those who seek to spread the Gospel to the world were also on the Pope's mind as he prayed, "make the will of those whom the Lord of the harvest calls to be workers in His vineyard firm and decided, so that, resisting all the temptations and pitfalls of the world, they may persevere generously in following the path they have taken and, with your maternal help, be witnesses of Christ, attracted by the brilliance of His Love.”
 
Finally, Pope Benedict implored Mary to: "Console those who weep, who suffer for human injustice; support those who waver under the burden of fatigue and look to the future without hope; encourage those who work to build a better world in which justice many triumph and fraternity reign, in which egoism, hatred and violence may end. May every form and expression of violence be overcome by the pacifying power of Christ.”

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Catholic Church must renew its efforts to evangelize, Pope says

Vatican City, Sep 7, 2009 (CNA) - Pope Benedict's message for the 83rd World Mission Day was made public on Saturday, September 5. The Holy Father reminds Catholics in his message that evangelization is the essential mission of the Church and that they should do all that they can to support the missions.

World Mission Day will be celebrated this year on Sunday, October 18, with the theme: " The nations will walk in its light." The message, published in six languages, bears the date of June 29, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.
 
Excerpts from the English-language version are given below:
 
"The goal of the Church's mission is to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel as they journey through history towards God, so that in Him they may reach their full potential and fulfillment. ... It is in this perspective that the disciples of Christ throughout the world work, struggle and groan under the burden of suffering, even offering up their own lives. I strongly reiterate what was so frequently affirmed by my venerable predecessors: the Church works not to extend her power or assert her dominion, but to lead all people to Christ, the salvation of the world. We seek only to place ourselves at the service of all humanity, especially the suffering and the marginalized, because we believe that 'the effort to proclaim the Gospel to the people of today... is a service rendered to the Christian community and also to the whole of humanity.'"
 
"In truth, the whole of humanity has the radical vocation to return to its source, to return to God, since in Him alone can it find fulfillment through the restoration of all things in Christ. ... This new beginning can already be seen in the resurrection and exaltation of Christ, Who draws all things to Himself, renewing them and enabling them to share in the eternal joy of God. ... The Church's mission is to spread hope 'contagiously' among all peoples. This is why Christ calls, justifies, sanctifies and sends His disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God, so that all nations may become the People of God."
 
"The universal Church, which knows neither borders nor frontiers, is aware of her responsibility to proclaim the Gospel to entire peoples. ... The measure of her mission and service is not limited to material needs, or even to spiritual needs confined to the sphere of temporal existence; rather, it is transcendent salvation, fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom, although ultimately eschatological and not of this world, is also in this world and within its history a force for justice and peace, for true freedom and respect for the dignity of every human person. The Church wishes to transform the world through the proclamation of the Gospel of love. ... With this message I renew my invitation to all the members and institutions of the Church to participate in this mission and this service."
 
"It is therefore necessary to renew our commitment to proclaiming the Gospel which is a leaven of freedom and progress, brotherhood, unity and peace. I would 'confirm once more that the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church', a duty and a mission which the widespread and profound changes in present-day society render ever more urgent. At stake is the eternal salvation of persons, the goal and the fulfillment of human history and the universe."
 
"On this day dedicated to the missions, I recall in prayer those who have consecrated their lives exclusively to the work of evangelization. I mention especially the local Churches and the missionaries who bear witness to and spread the Kingdom of God in situations of persecution, subjected to forms of oppression ranging from social discrimination to prison, torture and death. Even today, many are put to death for the sake of His Name."
 
"The Church walks the same path and suffers the same destiny as Christ, since she acts not on the basis of any human logic or relying on her own strength, but rather following the way of the Cross, becoming, in filial obedience to the Father, a witness and a traveling companion for all humanity.
 
"I remind Churches of ancient foundation and those that are more recent that the Lord has sent them to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and He has called them to spread Christ, the Light of the nations, to the far corners of the earth. They must make the 'Missio ad gentes' a pastoral priority.
 
"I am grateful to the Pontifical Mission Societies and I encourage them in their indispensable service of promoting missionary animation and formation, as well as channeling material help to young Churches."
 
"Missionary zeal has always been a sign of the vitality of our Churches. ... I therefore ask all Catholics to pray to the Holy Spirit for an increase in the Church's passion for her mission to spread the Kingdom of God and to support missionaries and Christian communities involved in mission, on the front line, often in situations of hostility and persecution.
 
"At the same time I ask everyone, as a credible sign of communion among Churches, to offer financial assistance, especially in these times of crisis affecting all humanity, to enable the young local Churches to illuminate the nations with the Gospel of charity."

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