Pope Francis addresses members of the Dicastery for Evangelization Pope Francis addresses members of the Dicastery for Evangelization   (Vatican Media)

Pope: 'May the Jubilee help the people of God live in hope'

Addressing members of the Dicastery for Evangelization, Pope Francis reflects on the 2025 Jubilee of Hope and calls for a new approach to evangelization and the promotion a “spirituality of mercy” to overcome secularism.

By Lisa Zengarini

“When evangelization is carried out with the anointment and the style of mercy, it receives a better hearing, and the heart opens more willingly to conversion.”

Pope Francis offered this reminder on Friday as he addressed the members of the Section for Fundamental Questions regarding Evangelization of the Dicastery for Evangelization meeting for its plenary assembly.

Evangelization in a secularized world

The Pope started his speech, which was read by Monsignor Filippo Ciampanelli, with a reflection on the need for a new approach to evangelization in our secularized and individualistic world.

He remarked that over the past decades secularism has caused “enormous difficulties” which span “from the loss of the sense of belonging to the Christian community, to indifference regarding faith and its contents”.  

These negative effects, the Pope noted, have been further accentuated by the new digital culture, which "also brings with it a vision of mankind that appears problematic when referring to the need for truth that resides in every person, joined with the need for freedom in interpersonal and social relationships."

“Therefore,” he said, “the major issue before us is to understand how to overcome the rupture that has occurred in the transmission of faith. To this end, it is urgent to recover an effective relationship with families and with formation centres.”

“In order to be transmitted, faith in the risen Lord, which is the heart of evangelization, requires significant experience lived within the family and the Christian community as an encounter with Jesus Christ who changes life. Without this encounter, real and existential, we will always be subject to the temptation to make faith a theory and not a testimony of life.”

In this regard, Pope Francis welcomed the new Directory for Catechesis released in 2020 by the then Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization as a “valid” and effective tool “not only for the renewal of the catechetical methodology", but above all “for the involvement of the Christian community as a whole.”  

The crucial role of catechists

Emphasizing the crucial role of catechists, he expressed his hope “that bishops will be able to nurture and accompany vocations to this ministry”, especially among the young, “so that the gap between generations may be narrowed and the transmission of the faith may not appear as a task entrusted only to older people.”

“I encourage you to find ways for the Catechism of the Catholic Church to continue to be known, studied, and valued, so that it may respond to the new needs that manifest themselves with the passing decades.”

Promoting a "spituality of mercy"

Pope Francis went on to highlight that the “spirituality of mercy” is a fundamental component of the work of evangelization.

“God’s mercy is never lacking, and we are called to bear witness to it and, so to speak, to make it circulate in the veins of the body of the Church,” he said.

In this regard, he pointed to the precious work carried out by the Missionaries of Mercy, which he established in the 2015 papal Bull Misericordiae vultus, proclaiming the 2016 Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

“With their generous service to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, they offer witness that should help all priests to rediscover the grace and the joy of being ministers of God who forgives, always and without limits,” he said.

Need for prayer to prepare for the Jubily of Hope

Finally, Pope Francis reflected on the preparation of the 2025 Jubilee of Hope, which he will officially proclaim in an Apostolic Letter to be released in the weeks to come.

“I hope that those pages will be able to help many people reflect and, above all, experience hope in a real way," he said, remarking that “the holy people of God needs it so much!”

Thanking the Dicastery for its efforts to welcome the millions of Jubilee pilgrims flowing to Rome next year, Pope Francis concluded by recalling the importance of prayer to prepare for the event, for which 2024 has been designated as a Year of Prayer.

“We need to rediscover prayer as the experience of being in the Lord’s presence, of feeling we are understood, welcomed, and loved by Him,” he said.

“Let us start, brothers and sisters, to pray more, to pray better, in the school of Mary and of the saints.”

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15 March 2024, 12:35