Pope Says Credible Lay Witnesses Are Needed More Than Ever

Reminds South Korean Laypeople How Their Contributions Are Essential

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Pope Francis has called on laity to use their unique talents to advance the Church, and has reinforced how preserving the family unit is crucial.

Addressing South Korean laity at 6:30 p.m., local time, at the Spiritual Center in Kkottongnae, he said: “Today, as ever, the Church needs credible lay witnesses to the saving truth of the Gospel, its power to purify and transform human hearts,” as well as its “fruitfulness for building up the human family in unity, justice and peace.”

To the some 150 lay people gathered in the center’s chapel, he said “every baptized Christian has a vital part in this mission of the Church.”

“Whatever your particular contribution to the Church’s mission,” he said, “I ask you to continue to promote in your communities a more complete formation of the lay faithful through ongoing catechesis and spiritual direction.

“In all that you do, strive to place your own insights, talents and charisms at the service of the Church’s growth in unity and missionary outreach,” he encouraged, adding that this should be done “in complete harmony of mind and heart with your pastors.”

“Your contribution is essential,” the Pope declared, because “the future of the Church in Korea – as throughout Asia – will depend in large part on the development of an ecclesiological vision grounded in a spirituality of communion, participation and the sharing of gifts.”

Although the God-given gifts of the laity vary, he acknowledged, “all that you do is meant to advance the Church’s mission,” particularly the works of faith, charity and service.

The Church in Korea, the Pope reflected, “is heir to the faith of generations of lay persons who persevered in the love of Christ Jesus and the communion of the Church despite the scarcity of priests and the threat of severe persecution.”

Not only through sufferings and death did the martyrs’ lives bear witness to the faith, Francis said, but also through “loving solidarity with one another in Christian communities, marked by exemplary charity.”

The Jesuit Pope went on to acknowledge the work of the many societies and associations directly engaged in outreach to the poor and those in need.

In addition to acknowledging the “outstanding” contributions made by Korean Catholic women to the life and mission of the Church as mothers, catechists, teachers, and “in countless other ways,” he also stressed the importance of the witness given by Christian families.

“At a time of great crisis for family life,” Francis reminded them, “the family remains the basic unit of society” and the “first school in which children learn the human, spiritual and moral values which enable them to be a beacon of goodness, integrity and justice in our communities.”

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On Zenit’s Web page:

Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-korean-laity

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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