Pope Francis said he trusts that bishops will continue to improve their dialogue and collaboration with him and with each other in their next general assembly.
“We are confident that the Synod of Bishops will discover further developments to facilitate even more the dialogue and collaboration between the bishops, and between them and the Bishop of Rome,” Pope Francis said June 13.
“I am sure that with the discernment, accompanied by prayer, this work will bring abundant fruits to the whole Church,” he said at the Consistory Hall of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
The Pope made his comments to leaders of the synod, who gathered in Rome to help him choose the theme of their next general assembly.
Archbishop Nikola Eterovi?, secretary general of the synod, told CNA June 13 that the next meeting will be in 2015, but the exact time and place are up to the Holy Father to decide.
In his remarks today, Pope Francis described the Synod of Bishops as “one of the fruits” of the Second Vatican Council.
“Thanks be to God that, in these almost 50 years, we have been able to feel the benefits of this institution that, in a permanent way, is at the service of the Church’s mission and communion as an expression of collegiality,” said Pope Francis.
Their last gathering was called “The new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith.” It was their 13th assembly and took place in Oct. 2012.
“There is a close connection between these two elements, the transmission of the Christian faith is the purpose of the new evangelization and of all the Church’s evangelizing work, which exists precisely for this,” Pope Francis said.
“The expression ‘new evangelization,’ therefore, highlights the increasingly clear awareness that, even in countries with an ancient Christian tradition, a renewed proclamation of the Gospel is necessary,” he added.
He noted that this is necessary “to bring us back to the encounter with Christ that truly transforms our lives and that isn’t superficial or marked by routine,” and this encounter has “consequences for pastoral activity.”
“I would encourage the whole ecclesial community to be evangelizing, not to be afraid of going out to announce themselves,” said the Pope.
“The techniques are certainly important, but even the most advanced ones couldn’t substitute the gentle but effective action of he who is the principal agent of evangelization, the Holy Spirit,” he added.
It is “necessary” for people to let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis stated, “even if he takes us along new paths.”
He believes it is necessary “so that our announcement might be made with words that are always accompanied by the simplicity of our lives, our spirit of prayer, and our charity towards all.”
“Especially (towards) the lowliest and poorest, by our humility and self-detachment, and by the holiness of our lives,” said the pontiff.