On Sunday Pope Benedict met with a group of consecrated people at St. Lawrence Cathedral in Genoa. The consecrated faithful heard words of encouragement from the Pope to remain committed to their work of evangelization.
"This cathedral, surrounded by so many alleyways," the Holy Father said as he drew upon the architecture to point his listeners to the spiritual legacy of the church. It "seems to be the place of convergence and arrival of all roads, as if from the shade of the narrow lanes men wish to come out into the light of their cathedral ... into the light of God which welcomes, embraces, illuminates and restores everyone."
The Pope also brought to mind the “past centuries” during which “the Church in Genoa has had a rich tradition of holiness and generous service to others. ... And even today, despite the difficulties society is undergoing, evangelizing passion remains strong in your communities.”
Today the Genoese Church has shown “a growing and shared desire to create ever more fraternal understanding in order to collaborate in missionary activity throughout the archdiocese. Indeed, following the guidelines of the Italian Episcopal Conference, you wish to place yourselves in a permanent state of mission, as a form of witness to the joy of the Gospel and an explicit invitation to everyone to meet Jesus Christ," the Pope said.
In order to cultivate this missionary spirit, the Holy Father called on the faithful "to become 'specialists' in listening to God and credible examples of a holiness that translates into faithfulness to the Gospel, without surrender to the spirit of the world.”
The Pope invited those present to continue their good works, especially their presence near "the poor, the sick, families, children, parishes." All this, he added, "is a precious field of service and of giving, in order to build the Church and serve mankind."
"Genoa's long spiritual tradition includes six Popes, among whom I particularly mention Benedict XV ... the Pope of peace. In his 'Humani generis redemptionem' he wrote that 'what makes the human word capable of benefiting souls is the grace of God.' Let us never forget this. ... In order to be witnesses and heralds of the message of salvation we cannot rely only on our human energy. It is the faithfulness of God that stimulates and conforms our own faithfulness to Him. Hence let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit of truth and love."