Loading
Pope uses Latin American experience to guide confraternities
By David Uebbing
Pope Francis at a Papal Mass to celebrate Confirmation on April 28, 2013. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.
Pope Francis at a Papal Mass to celebrate Confirmation on April 28, 2013. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.

.- Drawing on the experience of the Latin American Church, Pope Francis called on groups dedicated to specific saints to grow in their faith, help unite the Church and evangelize through their public acts of devotion.

“Three words, don’t forget them: Evangelical spirit, ecclesial spirit, missionary spirit. Let us ask the Lord always to direct our minds and hearts to him, as living stones of the Church, so that all that we do, our whole Christian life, may be a luminous witness to his mercy and love,” the Pope told the thousands of devotees gathered May 5 in St. Peter’s Square.

Most of the pilgrims began arriving in Rome this past Friday, and their colorful outfits brought a certain flair to the streets surrounding the Vatican. They came for the Year of Faith weekend event dedicated to confraternities – groups of Catholics who are dedicated to a particular saint or spirituality – many of which have ancient roots.

The culmination of the weekend was a Mass that Pope Francis celebrated with them in St. Peter’s Square at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 5.

Although Saturday was sunny, Sunday morning began with an overcast sky that turned to rain just before Mass was about to start, leading the Pope to congratulate the pilgrims for their perseverance.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” he began his homily, “you were very courageous to come with this rain … May the Lord bless you very much!”

The confraternities – which came from Italy, France, Ireland, Malta, Spain and Poland for the event – were welcomed by the Pope, who noted that they are “a traditional reality in the Church, which in recent times has experienced renewal and rediscovery.”

Throughout his homily on the day’s readings, Pope Francis drew on Benedict XVI’s pervious message to confraternities, but also added insights from the Latin American bishops’ remarks on the groups.

His first exhortation to the crowd was to nurture their devotions as a “treasure possessed by the Church, which the bishops of Latin America defined, significantly, as a spirituality, a form of mysticism, which is a place of encounter with Jesus Christ.

“Draw always from Christ, the inexhaustible wellspring; strengthen your faith by attending to your spiritual formation, to personal and communitarian prayer, and to the liturgy,” he urged.

Pope Francis then recalled how the first Christians solved their problems within the Church, not from without.

“And this brings up a second element which I want to remind you of, as Benedict XVI did, namely: ecclesial spirit. Popular piety is a road which leads to what is essential, if it is lived in the Church in profound communion with your pastors,” he said.

The Holy Father observed that this morning St. Peter’s Square contained “a great variety, first of umbrellas, and then of colors and signs.”

“This is also the case with the Church: a great wealth and variety of expressions in which everything leads back to unity, the variety leads back to unity and unity to the encounter with Christ,” he said, repeating a theme he has raised in his daily Masses.

Pope Francis’ final point for the confraternities was that they should have a “missionary spirit.”

“You have a specific and important mission,” he stated, “that of keeping alive the relationship between the faith and the cultures of the peoples to whom you belong. You do this through popular piety.”

“When, for example, you carry the crucifix in procession with such great veneration and love for the Lord, you are not performing a simple outward act … you are reminding yourselves first, as well as the community, that we have to follow Christ along the concrete path of our daily lives so that he can transform us,” he preached.

Quoting from the Latin American bishops’ “Aparecida Document,” Pope Francis said, “(i)n effect, journeying together towards shrines, and participating in other demonstrations of popular piety, bringing along your children and engaging other people, is itself a work of evangelization.”

After Mass finished, the Pope recited the Regina Caeli and greeted the Meter Association, which is dedicated to preventing the abuse of children.

“It allows me the opportunity to turn my thoughts to the many who have suffered and continue to suffer because of abuse,” he said.

“I wish to assure them that they are present in my prayers, and I would also like to say that each of us must do all we can and commit ourselves with clarity and courage so that every human person, especially children, who are in the category of the most vulnerable, are always defended  and protected.”

Tags: Year of Faith, Pope Francis


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
16

Liturgical Calendar

April 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Gospel
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 50:4-9a
Gospel:: Mt 26:14-25

Homily of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Homily
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: