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Pope Francis encourages young people to consider becoming missionaries

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Addressing the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s square during his Weekly General Audience, Pope Francis said that missionary spirit is manifested by preaching love, humanity and faith through one’s witness and not through proselytism.

Commending the lives of missionaries, Pope Francis said they gave up their lives to serve those who were most in need wherever they were. He recalled meeting this 81-year-old Italian female religious who revealed to him that she had been living in Central African Republic since she was 24.

Pope Francis noted how this sister had practically spent her whole life there, and explained that there are many more like her. He said the sister was a nurse before she came, and after studying there to become a midwife, has delivered some 3,280 babies.

“An entire life for life, for the lives of others. And like this sister, there are many, many (others): many sisters, many priests, and many religious giving up their lives to proclaim Jesus Christ. It’s beautiful to see this." He said.

Pope Francis praised the female religious’ testimony and challenged young people urging them to decide what to do with their lives.

He said, “I tell the young people: Think about what you are going to do with your life. Think about this religious and so many like her that have given their lives. And many have died."

The Pope also explained that when some Muslim women in Bangui want to receive care they go to the missionaries, because the sisters are good nurses who heal well and they do not offer catechesis in exchange for their care.

“The missions, they are not for proselytizing because this sister told me that Muslim women come to them because they know they are good religious nurses who care for them and do not give catechesis in return. Then, for those who want catechesis, they get it. This is what the heroic missions of the Church consist of, proclaiming Jesus Christ with their lives." He said.

Pope Francis concluded his reflections by urging the youths to consider the possibility of becoming missionaries, “but not to proselytize." Faith in Jesus Christ is shared first through “witness then with words," He said.


1 comment

  1. jose Reply

    greetings in Christ…i agree father that the youth would consider to become missionaries…but with all due respect, i pray that the missionary work of Lord Jesus Christ on earth (for charity of giving more resources for the poorer and needier) be equally fulfilled by people (as individuals and as families) hopefully through activities of the parish churches (and catholic / christian schools) that are already present among many villages and communities throughout the world…that would instruct the religous (i.e. priests, nuns, religious orders, staff) and people involved in catholic / christian schools and educational institutions to freely use the facilities of parishes (and schools) for community activities…

    such as peaceful meetings about: 1) family issues (i.e. free counseling for families and marriages); 2) health issues (i.e. free health care); 3) charity programs and events of helping the needier people (i.e. free food and water, clothing, books, etc.); 4) developing livelihoods (i.e. self-sustaining farming for agriculture, tree-planting for forestry, free training); 5) education (i.e. seminars about values formation and tutoring); 6) family team building activities (i.e. families to build friendships); 7) social gatherings (such as birthdays to invite many); 8) recollections (seminars for spiritual growth); 9) outreach programs (within the church or other venues); 10) immersion activities (i.e. outreach programs in poorer areas), 11) financial assistance programs (i.e. poor families, poor workers/laborers, the unemployed), etc. –

    with the objectives: 1) to strengthen the family ties among all various communities (beyond the 1 hour mass we parishioners often attend to every sunday or wknd); 2) to maximize the existing infrastructure of parish churches and religious facilities (that have been built by enormous spending by the parishioners), including the catholic / christian schools (that have often been exclusive, with tuition fees affordable only for rich families, and also built by enormous spending by religious orders); and 3) that the influence of the church to admonish charity may not only be limited to certain missionary groups (or religious orders) but all the people throughout humanity…

    God bless you father and the church that family love may reign throughout humanity…all these for our love for The Holy Trinity – with God the Father, God the Son (Our Lord Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit of Love; together with Father Saint Joseph, Mother Mary, and the Child Jesus as The Holy Family…Amen.

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