Pope Francis drew from documents of the Second Vatican Council to illustrate what it means to be an apostle today.
“The Council says: ‘The Christian vocation by its very nature is also a vocation to the apostolate,’” he said, quoting the decree on the apostolate of the laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem.
Quoting from Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic constitution on the Church, he said apostleship “is a calling that is common, just as ‘a common dignity [is shared] as members from their regeneration in Christ, having the same filial grace and the same vocation to perfection; possessing in common one salvation, one hope, and one undivided charity.’”
“It is a call that concerns both those who have received the sacrament of orders, consecrated persons, and all lay faithful, man or woman.”
Pope Francis addressed the crowd as he said “the laity — all of you, the majority of you are laypeople, all of you — likewise share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own share in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 2).”
He encouraged Catholics to consider how they relate to others, both in and outside the Church, in light of apostleship.
“For example, are we aware of the fact that with our words we can undermine the dignity of people, thus ruining relationships? While we try to engage in dialogue with the world, do we also know how to dialogue among ourselves as believers?” he said.
“Listening, humbling one’s self, being at the service of others: This is serving,” he continued. “This is being Christian. This is being apostle.”
“Let us not be afraid to pose these questions to ourselves, to flee from vanity, the vanity of positions,” Pope Francis concluded.
“May these words help us to confirm the way in which we live our baptismal vocation, how we live our way of being apostles in a Church that is apostolic, that is at the service of others.”
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.