Pope Francis met this Thursday morning with the participants in Catholic Action’s 2nd International Congress on the theme “Catholic Action Is Mission with All and for All.”
Speaking in Spanish and off-the-cuff, the Pontiff addressed some 300 participants and said: ”I’m going to permit myself to put the text aside and to tell you what I feel.”
He divided his address into six points: charism in the light of Evangelii Gaudium, guidelines for action, the subjects or agents, the recipients and the style Catholic Action must have and its Plan.
On Catholic Action’s style, he wondered: “How can we re-formulate the charism in the light of Evangelii Gaudium, which is the framework of the whole apostolic action in the Church today?” Francis pointed out that CA’s charism must be that of the “Church deeply incarnated in the today and here of each diocesan Church,” supported on four fundamental pillars: prayer, formation, sacrifice and apostolate, of which — given the characteristics of this moment –, the apostolate “must be distinctive,” stressed Francis. “There is an integrating dynamism in the mission. It is the mission that integrates,” he added.
Thinking how to renew the evangelizing commitment, the Holy Father said that the mission is the fundamental task of Catholic Action and he invited them to renew and actualize this commitment to evangelization, reaching in truth everyone and all the existential peripheries, assuming the totality of the Church’s mission “in generous belonging to the diocesan Church from the Parish.”
Speaking of the agents, Francis pointed out that all the members of Catholic Action are dynamically missionaries, and he exhorted them to allow the Holy Spirit to lead them, abandoning old criteria and “adopting the criteria that is necessary today.”
He invited Catholic Action to “be present in the political, entrepreneurial, and professional world, in prisons, hospitals, villages, factories, so that it is not transformed into an institution of the “exclusive, which does not say anything to anyone, and neither to the Church herself. All have a right to be evangelizers,” he stressed.
And, in this context, the Pontiff affirmed that Catholic Action must popularize itself more.
“Catholic Action cannot be far from the people but in the midst of the people” and, to be able to follow this way, “it is good to receive a deluge of people,” he added.
The Pope also pointed out the steps through which Catholic Action’s “plan” must pass: to “get in first,” to involve itself, to accompany, to fructify and celebrate, walking together.
And he exhorted them: Spread with the joy of the faith! Do not fall into the temptation of structuralism. The Catholic passion, the Church’s passion is to live the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing.