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Pope Francis: Mission to every people

The story is told about an American army chaplain who had just preached a homily at a Mass for American servicemen in a cathedral in Europe. The theme of the homily was: “Be proud of your Catholic faith; don’t be ashamed to practice it in public.”

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After the Mass, a sailor, obviously moved by the homily, approached the chaplain and asked to go to confession. The chaplain agreed and the sailor knelt down right on the sidewalk in front of the cathedral. “Never mind kneeling,” said the chaplain. “People will be staring at us.”

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“The heck with them, Father,” the sailor said. “Didn’t you say, ‘don’t be afraid to practice your faith in public?’”

The sailor’s spirit of faith might be exaggerated but he surely knew how to practice it.

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EVERY LAND IS MISSIONARY. “Today every land is a missionary land and every dimension of the human person needs to be preached the Gospel.” Pope Fancis said this when he received in audience participants in the General Chapter of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on the 200th anniversary of the order, coinciding with the Jubilee of Mercy.

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Pope Francis gave the Church his first apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). In it Pope Francis proposed a profound missionary renewal of the entire Church.

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He asserted that we need an “evangelizing Church that comes out of herself,” not a Church that is “self-referential” and “lives within herself, of herself, for herself.”

All renewal in the Church must have mission as its goal otherwise it falls prey to a kind of “ecclesial introversion.”

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HEART OF MISSION. “May mercy be always the heart of your mission, of your evangelizing commitment in the world of today,” the Pope told them. The life and works of Mother Teresa is cited as a model of mercy.

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Only a few weeks ago on September 4 the Church celebrated the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She was known all over the world for her genuine, loving, selfless care of the poorest of the poor, regardless of their race or religion. She remains a model of the missionary Church as a witness of the Father’s mercy.

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JOY OF FAITH. For Pope Francis, salvation history is a “great stream of joy” which we must also enter. Let the joy of faith be revived, because God’s mercies never end. Unfortunately, “there are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter.”

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“An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral.” “Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the joy of evangelization.”

“A sad saint is a bad saint,” said St. Teresa of Avila.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. A tribe of cannibals in Africa was converted to Christianity by a Catholic missionary. Now on Fridays they only eat fishermen.

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Lord, make all people good and make all the good nice.

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ISN’T IT STRANGE… how a 50-peso bill seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping?

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FUTURE MISSIONARIES. In the spirit of World Mission Sunday, how about chipping in or making a monthly pledge for the scholarship of future missionaries?

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Without seminarians, we cannot have priests, missionaries and bishops.

For further inquiries, e-mail me: belsvd@gmail.com.