Parishes: That our parishes, animated by a missionary spirit, may be places where faith is communicated and charity is seen.
In his Message for the 2017 World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis wrote: “All Christians are called to be missionaries of the Gospel! As disciples, we do not receive the gift of God’s love for our personal consolation, nor are we called to promote ourselves, or a business concern. We are simply men and women touched and transformed by the joy of God’s love, who cannot keep this experience just to ourselves.”
We experience God’s love in prayer and community, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist. There, our intimate encounter with Jesus leads us to share the concerns and desires of his Heart which move us beyond focusing just on ourselves or our own parish community.
In 2001 Pope St. John Paul II wrote: “our Christian communities must become genuine ‘schools’ of prayer. By opening our heart to the love of God it also opens it to the love of our brothers and sisters, and makes us capable of shaping history according to God’s plan.”
Strengthened in faith and charity at the Eucharist, we look outwards to the millions
who do not know Jesus. We reach out to them with our prayer and acts of charity. At the same time, we form a parish community that will attract people to Christ and his Body, the Church.
In a General Audience last October, Pope Francis offered the example of St. Therese of Lisieux, one of the Apostleship of Prayer’s patrons: “she reminds us that the real mission is never proselytism, but rather attraction to Christ, beginning with strong union with him in prayer, adoration and concrete acts of charity, which is service to Jesus present in the least of our brothers and sisters.”
Reflection and Discussion
What is meant by “a missionary spirit”? In what ways is my community a place “where faith is communicated and charity is seen”?
Acts 2: 42-47 “All who believed were together and had all things in common. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”