Pope Francis receives participants in the General Chapter of the Mariannhill Mission Society Pope Francis receives participants in the General Chapter of the Mariannhill Mission Society  (Vatican Media)

Pope encourages Mariannhill Missionaries in holiness

Pope Francis praises participants in the General Chapter of the Mariannhill Mission Society for their proclamation of the Gospel, and encourages them to spread holiness and welcome synodality.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis has recalled the rich history of the Mariannhill Missionaries and encouraged them to continue their mission in a way that is always more open to the Holy Spirit's newness and promptings.

The Holy Father did so on Thursday when addressing the missionaries, whose Congregation is dedicated to foreign missions, who have been participating in their General Chapter in Rome.

The Pope noted that their Chapter takes place following the 100-year anniversary celebrations of Congregation’s foundation, and "seeks to carry forward, amid the challenges of the present time, the zeal for evangelization that inspired Abbot Franz Pfanner and his Trappist companions to lay the foundations for its distinctive apostolate."  

“It is my hope that your deliberations will confirm the Congregation in its founding charism, which combines fidelity to the evangelical counsels with passion for the spread of the Gospel 'ad gentes' and the extension of Christ’s kingdom of holiness, justice and peace.”

Solidarity: Of one mind and purpose

The Chapter's theme 'Solidarity: Called to be of One Mind and One Purpose,' the Pope said, is particularly timely in the light of the broader synodal journey undertaken in these months by the universal Church in preparation for the meeting of the Synod of Bishops in 2023 and 2024. 

"This ecclesial journey," the Pope said, "is meant to foster the communion, participation and missionary commitment of all the baptized through a process of spiritual discernment centred on encounter, listening and reflection, and thus to arrive at an ever greater openness to the newness of the Spirit and his promptings."

"An essential element along the synodal path," he added, "is the development of a greater sense of co-responsibility on the part of the lay faithful for the Church’s life and future." 

This concern, he said, is clearly reflected in the Marianhill Missionary Chapter’s reference to the impassioned plea of St. Paul to the Christian community of Corinth to be “united in the same mind and the same purpose.” 

Persevere in missionary efforts

"The history of your Congregation," the Holy Father reflected, "shows that, from the beginning, your preaching of the Gospel has been accompanied by efforts to encourage local vocations, to promote an integral human development within local communities, and to develop a spirit of shared responsibility for the common good."

“If the synodality to which the Church is called in our day involves walking together and listening together, surely the first voice to which we must listen should be that of the Holy Spirit.”

Church called to synodality

Today, as ever, the Pope pointed out, the Holy Spirit is needed, not only to prosper the work of our hands, but above all to soften the hard soil of our hearts.

“I assure you of my prayers that, through a fresh outpouring of the Spirit, your Chapter will bear abundant spiritual fruit for the growth of the Missionaries of Mariannhill in holiness and in faithful service to the Gospel.”

Pope Francis concluded by entrusting them to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, granting his blessing and asking them to pray for him.

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20 October 2022, 10:58