Pope calls on Pontifical Missionary Works to reach all nations


On Saturday the Holy Father received representatives of the Pontifical Missionary Works, a group of organizations serving "to put into effect the missionary mandate to evangelize people unto the ends of the earth.”  In the words of Christ, he called them to “make disciples of all nations.”

The Pope recalled how the Pontifical Missionary Works (POM) has been of high importance for his predecessors, “who elevated it to the rank of 'Pontifical' and urged bishops to establish it in their own dioceses." He also reminded the representatives that Vatican Council II emphasized the “nature and mission of particular Churches, recognizing their full dignity and missionary responsibility.”

The Holy Father further explained this mission as the “task and duty of all Churches” and is one of communion – which is urgently needed to combat the dividing effects of sin.  “To counter the seeds of the fragmentation of humanity, which daily experience shows to be so deep-rooted in mankind because of sin, the local Church opposes the unifying power of the Body of Christ."

Healing the division of the Body of Christ was a theme of St. Paul’s that the Pope reflected on, pointing to the Apostle’s teaching that “redemption and mission are acts of love.”  The Pope explained that “It was love of Christ that impelled him to follow the roads of the Roman empire as a herald ... of the Gospel,” and a love that “must impel us to announce to all mankind, frankly and courageously, the truth that saves.”

The Holy Father concluded with the words of Christ: “go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”  This instruction from Jesus, he said, represents “an obligation for the whole Church and for each individual member of Christ's faithful.”

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