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Pope to Mozambique's Bishops: Care for, Defend the Family

Francis Underscores Pastoral Role of Bishops

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Care for and defense of the family were at the heart of Pope Francis’ remarks to bishops of Mozambique. Speaking to the bishops Saturday in the Vatican who are in Rome for their ad limina visit, Francis reminded them to spare no effort in supporting the family and the defense of life from conception to natural death, reported Vatican Radio.
“The family,” the Pope said in his address which was prepared in Portuguese and delivered in written form during the encounter, “is always to be defended as a prime source of fraternity and of respect for others, as well as a primary way of peace.”

The Pontiff also underscored the role of the bishop as pastor. Like the shepherd appointed by Christ to care for Christ’s flock, bishops–Francis noted–are to serve Christ by serving and building up His people.

“Jesus is the supreme Pastor of the Church,” the Holy Father stated. “It is in His name and by His mandate that we are to take care to keep his flock, fully ready to give everything, even our lives.”

The Holy Father went on to urge the bishops to form and maintain strong relationships with their priests, caring for their spiritual and material needs.

The Pope also lauded the role the Church plays in the larger society of Mozambique, especially in the fields of education and health care.

Pope Francis concluded, recalling the missionary vocation of all the baptized and the bishops’ role as both guardians and nurturers of the missionary spirit. “When we go out to take the Gospel with true apostolic spirit, He walks with us,” the Pope said, noting, “He precedes us, and for us this is fundamental: God always goes before us.” (D.C.L.)

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