Pope: Be At the Service of God First

Pontiff Receives Recently Appointed Bishops in Audience

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By Luca Marcolivio

CASTEL GANDOLFO, SEPTEMBER 20, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The opening of the Year of Faith, the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Vatican Council II, the 20th year of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the 13th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization are all occasions “to reinforce the faith,” said Pope Benedict XVI, during an audience with recently appointed bishops taking part in a congress organized by the Congregations for Eastern Churches.

“Finding yourselves together in Rome, at the start of your episcopal service, is a propitious moment to have a concrete experience of communication and of communion among yourselves and, in the meeting with the Successor of Peter, to nourish the sense of responsibility for the whole Church,” the Pope stressed.

The Holy Father invited the prelates  to “promote and support ” a more convinced ecclesial commitment in favor of the New Evangelization, to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm in communicating the faith” (Apostolic Letter Porta fidei, 7).

The appeal is to “foster and nourish communion and collaboration among all the realities of your dioceses.” Evangelization, he said, “is not the work of some specialists, but of the whole People of God, under the guidance of Pastors.” Therefore, “every faithful, in and with the ecclesial community, must feel responsible for the proclamation and witness of the Gospel.”

The New Evangelization is, in a word, a product of the Second Vatican Council, so true is this that Blessed John XXIII, at the closing of the first period of the conciliar meeting hoped for a “new Pentecost that would make the Church blossom in her inner richness and in extending herself maternally to all fields of human activity.”

Today’s pastors, the Holy Father continued, have inherited “this patrimony of doctrine, of spirituality and of holiness” and they must draw from it to form their faithful.

“Therefore I encourage you to commit yourselves so that all, according to the different ages and conditions of life, are presented the essential contents of the faith, systematically and organically, to respond also to the questions posed by our technological and globalized world,” he said.

The Holy Father concluded the audience recalling the following phrase of Saint Paul: “Aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace … The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 22-25).

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