Pope Francis thanks the Neocathecumenal Way for its 50 anniversary, and sends them out on mission
Pope Francis meets with 100,000 members of the Neocathecumenal Way, together with 16 cardinals and 90 bishops. Representatives of dozens of Asian countries were present in the rally. The pontiff comments on Jesus words: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28, 19). Benediction of crosses, handed in to 34 members sent on mission ad gentes. Some of Rome parishes’ communities are sent on mission to Italian capital peripheral areas.
Rome (AsiaNews) – “Thanks… for having listened to the Lord’s call, to live the Gospel and evangelise”, thanks to Kiko Argüello, who “has initiated the Neocathecumenal Way fifty years ago” ; thanks to God, “for His love and fidelity”, and most of all, thanks “to all those who are to depart on mission”. In this manner, Pope Francis introduced his speech pronounced during the Neocathecumenal Way rally that gathered more than 100.000 members to celebrate its 50th foundation anniversary.
The Pope arrived by 11 am on his open-top jeep, passing through Tor Vergata esplanade, in Rome suburbs, blessing the crowd that gathered on both sides waving all worlds’ countries flags. The celebration was attended by 16 cardinals and 90 bishops from all over the world.
The meeting with the pontiff was preceded by Neocathecumenal chants. Later, there were greetings to each cardinal and groups from all over the world. In the case of Asia, there were representatives from Japan, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, South Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, India, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Middle East countries joined too, with the presence of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Emirates, Lebanon and Iraq.
When the meeting reached its end, Pope Francis blessed the crosses that will be handed in to people in charge of the 34 new missio ad gentes, to which dozens of the Way’s families will be sent to. Pope’s message focused mainly on “the mission, the evangelisation, which is today Church’s priority”.
Therefore, the Pope devoted to commenting Jesus’ words” “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28, 19). “Go –the Pope remarked-. But in life, we are strongly tempted to stay, to avoid assuming risks, to content in having the situations under control. It is easier to stay home, surrounded by our beloved ones, but this is not Jesus’ way”.
“To go, you must be light. To proclaim, it is necessary to renounce. Only a Church that renounces to the world is capable to proclaim the Lord. Only a Church that is free from attachments to power or money, free from triumph and clericalism, is plausible to testify that Christ liberates man”.
“‘Go’ is the verb connected to mission, but He says something else: the verb is conjugated in the plural form. The Lord does not say that ‘you go’ on your own, ‘then you’... but that this ‘you’ is meant to be ‘you go together’... go together! He who walks alone is not fully missionary, but only those who walk together, who are together”.
The pontiff then commented on the words “make disciples”: “this is the mission. He does not say: conquer, occupy, but “make disciples”, that is, share with everyone the gift you were given, the encounter of love that has changed your life. This is the mission’s core: to testify that God loves us. And that with him, real love is possible, that love that makes you give your life wherever you are, whether it is in your family, at work, being consecrated or married”.
“This making-disciples dynamics is completely different from proselytism. The announcement strength, so that the world may believe, is all in here. What counts is not arguments to convince, but a life that attracts; not the ability to impose oneself, but the courage to serve”.
Finally, he focused on “of all of nations”: When Jesus says “of all” he is intended to remark that every nation has a place in his heart. No one is excluded”.
“Just like parents do, who see not the defects and lacks of their children firstly, but their sons and daughters or what they are, and within this light they embrace all their troubles and difficulties, the same goes for the missionaries when they are faced to people loved by God. They do not put on the first place the negative aspects or the things that should be changed, but they ‘see with the heart’, with a look that appreciate, with a respectful approach and a trust full of patience”.
“Love people cultures and traditions –he concluded- without applying pre-established models. Do not take off from schemes and theories, but from concrete situations: then, it will be the Holy Spirit to give form to the announcement, according to its times and ways. And the Church will grow upon its image: a unity within people’s gifts’ and charisma’s diversity. Dear brothers and sisters, your charisma is a great gift from God’s, for the Church of our time. Let’s thank the Lord for these fifty years”.