Cardinal Tagle: Use our gifts to contribute to the Church’s mission
By Giada Aquilino
"In the mission of the Church every baptized person has received a gift from the Holy Spirit that must be developed by participating in the mission itself", and as regards Laudato Si', this "is the care for our common home." The words of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, on Sunday in speaking to Vatican News on the missionary mandate entrusted to Laudato Si' animators of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, pastoral workers, young people and all people of good will. Pope Francis had announced this a few hours earlier at the Regina Coeli, when he spoke of the "mandate to spread the Gospel of Creation and to care for our common home."
The prayer meeting
Monday marks the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis' encyclical on caring for our common home, published on May 24, 2015. During Laudato Si' Week, a time marking the conclusion of the special Year called by the Pope as a way to reflect on and put into practice points in the document. Cardinal Tagle led the prayer meeting at the General Curia of the Friars Minor in Rome on Pentecost Sunday, the time we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit inaugurating the Church’s mission.
Rome, Assisi and the five continents
The celebration, followed via web throughout the world, began with remarks by Bishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi in a video link-up with the Shrine of Saint Dominic in the Umbrian town. He explained that this is the place where Saint Francis "began to build his house", opening his heart and responding to the Lord’s call to "mission, action, taking initiative". He said today "you are the missionaries: go and repair our common home", addressing the animators present and those watching from the five continents. Executive Director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, Tomás Insua, coordinated the event.
A proclamation for all time
In his remarks, Cardinal Tagle noted that at Pentecost "we know that the Risen Christ continues to be with us". The Archbishop Emeritus of Manila spoke inviting all to "be witnesses of His truth to the world", even and especially at this time of crisis due to the pandemic. To experience Christ, he continued, "is to know that Jesus accompanies us", as He did with his disciples. Mission, he added is a "lifelong call", a "proclamation for all time", and means to "accompany others".
A Church always reaching out
Father Augusto Zampini, adjunct secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and a member of the Vatican Covid-19 Commission echoed Cardinal Tagle by saying "the Gospel of Creation is linked to a Church that is reaching out…that takes care of our common home and others in every part of the planet. This is the beauty of the missionary dimension: to bring the Gospel message and Laudato Si' on caring for our common home and others, to every part of the world”, in every sector of society, recalling also how the Pope calls for "a profound change in the economy, which is ill because it causes inequalities, social diseases, conflicts and damage to creation" Father Zampini added.
A beacon of light
The “yes” to the missionary mandate came from animators from Rio de Janerio, Nairobi, Washington, Rome and Assisi, an acceptance of responsibility to "hear the cry of the Earth and of the poor", the unfortunate victims of suffering and deprivation in India as well as in Brazil, whom Father Michael Perry, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, recalled in his talk: "they are people who really carry the Cross" and to whom "we must give an opportunity", with a view towards fraternity and the missionary mandate. The final commitment taken is to express everywhere "kindness, love and humility" in order to be, as Cardinal Tagle underscored when lighting a candle together with the participants, "a beacon of light in the life of the Church and the world".
Mass at the Botanical Garden
A further sign of hope for a renewed commitment of the faithful came earlier in the morning at Rome’s Botanical Garden where Salesian Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, coordinator of the Ecology and Creation desk of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development celebrated a Mass to mark the sixth anniversary of the encyclical Laudato Si'. In his homily he said, "we have received a garden, but we cannot leave a desert for our young people", while also recalling the Pope’s call on us all to safeguard all of creation.