Parish Described as School of Holiness

Pope Appeals for Overcoming of «Folkloric» Religiosity

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 27, 2002 ( John Paul II described the parish as a school of holiness where the temptation to «folkloric» religiosity must be overcome.

When the Holy Father received 3,000 pilgrims from the southern Italian Diocese of Oria on Saturday, he said, «Every parish community must be a privileged place of hearing and proclaiming the Word; a house of prayer gathered around the Eucharist; an authentic school of communion.»

Thus, the «ardor of charity» can overcome «the temptation of an epidemic and folkloric religiosity» to become «a proper environment where the faithful can be educated in that elevated expression of ordinary Christian life, which is holiness,» the Pope said.

«With this stimulus, believers will not be satisfied with a life characterized by mediocrity or ethical minimalism, but, instead, will be more intensely aware of their baptismal commitments,» he continued.

When «tension toward holiness grows, exhaustion and disillusionment are overcome, the fancy of charity is reinforced, and attention matures for those who are afflicted by old or new poverties,» the Holy Father explained.

«Christian commitment sees the need to address courageously and competently the grave social and cultural problems of the present moment and is prepared to accept the challenges posed by the environment in which it lives, offering a personal contribution so that the quality of civil coexistence will grow,» John Paul II explained to the pilgrims.

Lastly, the Bishop of Rome requested that, in this commitment to parochial apostolic action, special attention be given to the family, «the primary cell of society and fortress for the future of humanity, reacting firmly to the cultural pressures that offend and relativize the value of marriage.»

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