Vatican City, Jan 29, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Speaking to a group of French bishops from the provinces of Dijon and Tours, Pope John Paul II focused on the vocation and mission of the laity, noting that their numbers, as those of priests, have diminished in recent years in France.
The laity in France, he observed, in seeking to better serve the Church, “are looking for a greater coherence between faith and its expression in daily life,” and have a new enthusiasm “for studying Scripture and mediating on the Word, and have a growing sense of responsibility for and commitment to justice and works of solidarity in the face of new situations of precariousness.”
The Pope praised the laity dedicated to help in parish life “under the pastor and in respect for the ordained ministry,” but highlighted the need for communion among priests and bishops and the faithful.
Turning to the question of Sunday Mass, he underscored that “it does not have the place that it should.” “Pastors thus must take care to remind the faithful in a forceful and clear way of the meaning of the Sunday obligation and of participation in the Sunday Eucharist, which can never be just a simple option in the midst of many activities,” he added.