Pope Meets With Ecumenical Meeting of Bishops, Friends of the Focolare Movement

Encourages Them to Continue to Be a Sign of Unity in the World

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The 33rd Ecumenical Meeting of Bishops, Friends of the Focolare Movement concluded with an audience with Pope Francis this morning at the Vatican today. The theme of the meeting was “The Eucharist: Mystery of Communion.”

The Holy Father began by praising the attendance of representatives from different countries, Churches, and ecclesial communities, saying that the meeting “is an expression, fruit of what the love of the Word of God produces.”

“I encourage you to make a treasure of this rich experience and to continue with courage, always attentive to the signs of the times and asking the Lord for the gift of mutual listening and docility to His will,” he said.

The Pope stressed the need for a clear witness of unity and fraternity among Christians. Doing so, he said, gives a response to the globalization of indifference with a sign of faith in Jesus Christ. He also lamented the lack of religious freedom in countries around the world and the sufferings faced by Christians and religious minorities.

“The persecutions in Christians’ dealings with other minorities; the sad phenomenon of terrorism; the tragedy of refugees caused by wars and other reasons; the challenges of fundamentalism and, from the other extreme, of exasperated secularism — all these realities challenge our conscience as Christians and as pastors,” he said.

“These challenges are an appeal to seek with renewed commitment, constancy and patience, ways that lead to unity, ‘that the world may believe’, and so that we, first of all, can be filled with trust and courage.”

The 77-year-old Pontiff went on to say that the central path to unity is the Eucharist, which confirms “the encounter between the grace of Christ and our responsibility” in the highest degree.

Concluding his address, Pope Francis expressed his hope that the Ecumenical Meeting would bear fruits of communion and give witness to Christian unity. ”May the Virgin Mother sustain you in this commitment and in your whole ministry,” he said.

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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