File photo of Pope Francis shaking a person's hand File photo of Pope Francis shaking a person's hand 

Pope urges Italian Bishops to make parishes ‘schools of service’

Pope Francis sends his greetings to a meeting of Bishops serving rural areas in Italy, and urges them to let charity and hope fill their pastoral activities

By Vatican News staff reporter

Some 20 Italian Bishops are holding a two-day meeting in the city of Benevento to seek ways to revitalize their pastoral care in areas facing depopulation, marginalization, and economic difficulty.

The Bishops hail from dioceses in Piedmont, Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, and Calabria.

As the event kicked off on Monday, Pope Francis sent a message to participants, urging them to set out with openness to “make all things new.”

Charity and communion

The Pope said the meeting can help the Bishops rediscover “communion and fraternity” and meet challenges together.

“Do not let yourselves be paralyzed by difficulties, individualism, and indifference that marks our times,” he wrote.

Rather, Christians should respond to these problems with “charity” and by “active engagement”, and not with “subdued disagreement with the lack of values in today’s society.”

Schools of service

He also urged Italian Bishops to overcome “nostalgia for the past” and take bold steps to be a consoling presence in places where hardships abound.

Parishes, he added, should become training centers for Christian life and “schools of service to others,” in such a way that humility and tenderness shine forth.

Pope Francis concluded the message expressing his appreciation for the initiative, which should help Bishops create projects and attitudes to help people discover “the love of the encounter with Jesus.”

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30 August 2021, 15:59