.- On Saturday morning, Pope Benedict XVI received prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, who have recently completed their "ad limina" visit. The Pope reminded the prelates that, "as teachers and doctors of the faith, you have the mission to teach the truth boldly and authentically, the truth that must be believed and lived."
He invited them to help the people they shepherd "to rediscover the joy of the faith, the joy of being loved personally by God Who gave His Son for our salvation. ... Put great trust in grace and spread this conviction among your people, that the faith may always be defended and transmitted in all its purity and integrity," he said.
The Holy Father emphasized that the celebration of the Eucharist is the most important duty of the priest. "The duty to sanctify which was given to you, obliges you to promote and encourage prayer in the human city, often turbulent, noisy and forgetful of God.”
“You must create places and opportunities for prayer where, in silence, listening to God in individual and community prayer, human beings can come together and gain a living experience of Jesus Christ Who reveals the true face of the Father,” the Pope advised the bishops. “Parishes and shrines, places of education and of suffering, families, must all become places of communion with the Lord.”
Speaking of the mission to govern, the Pontiff explained that "bishops are also called to judge and discipline the life of the people of God entrusted to their pastoral care, through laws, directives and advice, while following the norms of the universal discipline of the Church.”
“This right and duty is very important in order for the diocesan community to remain united and move forwards in a sincere communion of faith, love and discipline with the Bishop of Rome and with the entire Church,” he said.
“To this end,” Benedict XVI continued, “never tire of giving the faithful a sense of belonging to the Church and of the joy of fraternal communion.”
The Pope went on to say that a bishop's governance "will be pastorally effective 'only if it rests on a moral authority bestowed by his life of holiness. This is what will dispose hearts to accept the Gospel that the bishop proclaims in his Church, as well as the rules which he lays down for the good of the People of God.'”
“Thus each of you, internally forged by the Spirit, will become 'all things to all people,' presenting the truth of the faith, celebrating the Sacraments of our sanctification and bearing witness to the love of God,” he explained.
To conclude, the Pope invited the Brazilian prelates "to welcome with an open heart those who knock at your door: counsel them, console them, keep them on the path of God, seeking to guide everyone to unity in that faith and love of which, by the will of the Lord, you must be the fundamental and visible principle in your dioceses."