Photo: Catholic Press

Dicastery for the Laity. The words of Pope Francis

The Pope's address to the participants in the meeting of lay associations, ecclesial movements and new communities, organized by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.
Pope Francis

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!

I cordially greet His Eminence Cardinal Kevin Farrell, and I thank him for the words he addressed to me. And thank you to you all, for being present despite the inconveniences caused by the pandemic and sometimes by the bad feeling that this decree has perhaps sown in some people's hearts. I also greet and thank those who are participating via video link, most of whom were unable to travel due to the limitations still in force in many countries. I don’t know how the Secretary managed to return from Brazil! Later you will have to explain to me.

[The Secretary answers: In quarantine].

1. I wished to be here, first and foremost, to say thank you! Thank you for your presence as laypersons, men and women, young and elderly, committed to living and bearing witness to the Gospel in the everyday realities of life, in your work, in many different contexts – education, social commitment, and so on, in the street, at railway terminals, there, you were all there – this is the vast field of your apostolate, it is your evangelization. And we must understand that evangelization is a mandate that comes from Baptism, the Baptism that makes us priests together, in the priesthood of Christ; the priestly population, no? And we must not wait for the priest to come, for the priest to evangelize, the missionary… Yes, they do great good, but whoever has been baptized has the task of evangelizing. And you have reawakened this with your movements. And this is very good. Thank you.

During recent months, you have seen with your own eyes and touched with your hands the sufferings and anguish of many men and women, due to the pandemic, especially in the poorest countries, where many of you are present. One of you spoke with me about this. So much poverty and destitution… I think of us here in the Vatican – everything is good, isn’t it? – who complain when our meal is not cooked well, when … there are people who have nothing to eat. I am grateful to you because you have not stopped; you have not stopped bringing your solidarity, your help, your evangelical testimony even during the hardest months, when the level of contagion was very high. Despite the restrictions due to the necessary preventative measures, you did not give up: on the contrary, I know that many of you redoubled your efforts, adapting to the real situations you have, and had before you, with that creativity that comes from love, because those who feel loved by the Lord love without measure. We have seen this “without measure” in so many religious sisters, in many consecrated women, in many priests and in many bishops. I am thinking of a bishop who ended up intubated because he always wanted to stay with his people. He is now slowly recovering. You and all the people of God stood together in this, and you were there. None of you said, “No, I can’t go, because my founder thinks differently”. So, no founder: here there was the Gospel that called, and everyone went forth. Thank you very much. You have been witnesses to “that (blessed) common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters”. There are no half measures [...]

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