05/08/2006, 00.00
VATICAN
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Pope: Mission "consists definitely in communicating God's love to our brothers"

Receiving participants of the plenary assembly of the Higher Council of Pontifical Missionary Works, Benedict XVI stressed the essential role of mission in Christian communities.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Missionary work, essential for the Christian community, "consists definitely in communicating to our brothers the love of God, revealed in the plan of salvation". Activities to spread a sense of mission among the faithful, undertaken by the Pontifical Missionary Works, are encouraging ever greater proactive cooperation "in a spirit of sharing and communion". These are the themes on which Benedict XVI today based his address to participants of the plenary assembly of the Higher Council of Pontifical Missionary Works, when they were received in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

Responding to Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the pope said: "Being at the service of evangelization, the Pontifical Missionary Works, from the time they emerged in the XIX century, declared that missionary work consists definitely in communicating the love of God, revealed through the plan of salvation, to our brothers.

"Knowing and welcoming this saving Love is in fact a fundamental question for life – I wrote in the encyclical Deus caritas est – and it poses the decisive question about who God is and who we are (cfr no.2)."

"As the ancient church used to ensure that collections made in Macedonia and Acaia reached Jerusalem for Christians of that Church (cfr Rm 15:25-27), in the same way today, a responsible spirit of sharing and communion involves the faithful of each community in supporting the needs of missionary lands and this is an eloquent sign of the universality of the Church. Your statute, highlighting that mission, the work of God throughout history, is 'not a simple instrument, but an event that puts all at the disposal of the Gospel and the Spirit' (art.1), encourages you to work so that Christians will grow in the awareness that missionary work involves them in the spiritual dynamic of baptism, gathering them in communion around Christ to participate in his mission (cfr ibid). This intense missionary movement, which is of interest to church communities and individual members, has developed throughout these years into promising missionary cooperation. You are a significant witness to this, because you contribute everywhere to feeding this spirit of universal mission that is the distinctive sign of your birth as Missionary Works and the strength of your development."

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