Pope encourages young Catholics to show ‘creative courage’ to evangelize

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By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic Press Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has encouraged young Catholics to play an active role – not to be spectators – in the mission of the Church.

“You are not museum people, but rather you walk with creative courage, are welcoming and have a missionary motivation,” the pope told hundreds of young men and women belonging to the Shalom Catholic community on September 26. .

The Shalom Catholic Community, founded in Brazil in 1982, offers its members the opportunity to participate in “a community and missionary life in order to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all men and women, especially those who are estranged from Christ and the Church,” its website says.

In 2007 it was recognized by the then Pontifical Council for the Laity as an international association of the faithful.

Noting that the movement began 40 years ago “during a Eucharistic celebration”, the pope said it was important that the Shalom community “was not born ‘at the table’, with a beautiful plan” invented by the founder of the movement, Moysés Louro de Azevedo. Philo.

Instead, he said, “he was born in prayer, in liturgy.”

“The liturgy is not a beautiful ceremony, a ritual where our gestures or, worse, our clothes are at the center, no! The liturgy is God’s action with us, and we must be attentive to him,” he said.

During the meeting, the pope heard the experiences and questions of several members from Mexico, Congo and Brazil.

Pope Francis began his speech by answering a question from Fabiola, a 26-year-old Mexican who recounted her experience of joining Shalom after moving to Boston and then serving as a missionary in Rome.

“How can we persevere in a friendship with God in the midst of such a frenetic world? she asked. “How can we transmit this experience in the world today, in universities, in families and in the church itself?

Responding to her question, the pope recalled Jesus’ call to his disciples to “stay in me” and “stay in love” and said that through prayer, the word of God, adoration and the rosary, Christians can “bear much fruit.”

“The fruit is love, and it is the love of Christ that touches the hearts of people, wherever we are, in all environments,” the pope said. “It is up to us to make the commitment to remain in him; the Holy Spirit does the rest. He is the protagonist, not us.

Responding to a question from Bertrand, a 31-year-old Congolese member who asked how young people keep alive the “youthful spirit” of evangelization, the pope said it was important to remain open to the Holy Spirit, “ which renews hearts, renews life, renews the church and renews the world.

The pope recalled the example of the many young saints of the Catholic Church who have and continue to “build up the Church with their witness”. He also stressed the need for the church to “learn not to be paternalistic” and to keep young people engaged and involved.

“Sometimes we involve young people in pastoral initiatives, but not to their full extent. We risk “using” them a little, to make a good impression. But I wonder: are we really listening to them? asked the pope.

Pope Francis encouraged members of the Shalom community to be “docile to the action of the Holy Spirit” and to be open to listening to each other and to the Church “in order to better discern how to continue your path”.

Such actions “will teach you to ensure that the various forms of common life within (your movement) always protect the right autonomy and the needs of the different vocations: priests, married people and those who have made the choice celibacy for mission,” he said.

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