VATICAN CITY, MAY 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Evangelization is the first priority for bishops, Benedict XVI told the prelates of Mozambique, who were in Rome for their five-yearly visit.
During the meeting on Saturday, the Pope reminded the bishops from Mozambique that they are responsible “for announcing the word of God throughout the area entrusted to you,” including everything “from the celebration of the liturgy, formation in prayer and in preparation for the sacraments.”
Bishops are also responsible for “the organic unity of the diocese and its charitable, educational and apostolic institutions,” he said.
“For this reason you were clothed with pastoral authority,” the Holy Father observed, pointing out that this authority “takes the form of a servant that offers his life, his time, his strength and his heart for his sheep.”
The Pontiff added: “One providential avenue to create a new missionary impulse is the ecclesial movements and new communities.
“Welcome and promote them in your dioceses, because the Holy Spirit is using them to reawaken and deepen the faith in people’s hearts and to proclaim the joy that comes from belief in Jesus Christ.”
The Pope told the bishops he was aware of the great challenges they face because of “a modern society full of sensuality and individualism,” which will not get better without “a dynamic and well-rooted pastoral plan to promote families, which is based on family associations coordinated at the diocesan and national level.”
Benedict XVI said that other areas which require the bishops’ attention includes “assistance to the poor, sick and the marginalized, countering the advance of sects and developing the social communications media.”